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CQC gives Homerton clean bill of health, despite midwife claims

Care Quality Commission inspectors have found “no evidence” to support widely reported allegations of unsafe care made by a group of midwives at Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust, according to a report published last week.

The trust received an overall “good” rating from the regulator, while its accident and emergency department was rated “outstanding” – the first A&E to be rated this highly under the CQC’s new ratings system.

As revealed by Nursing Times earlier this month, City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group is reviewing claims made by an anonymous group calling themselves the “unhappy midwives” about patient safety and workforce issues.

The CQC’s report said the regulator itself had been in contact with the group since 2012 over “allegations of racism and poor leadership, not only of the maternity services, but of the trust as a whole”.

“They had also raised allegations about the trust covering up avoidable deaths of newborn babies,” the report noted.

But its inspectors “found no evidence to support allegations of racism or poor leadership”, the report said.

“We’ve told the trust it must make some changes – most notably in ensuring there are always enough staff on duty on the medical wards”

Mike Richards

Staff told inspectors they felt valued and enjoyed working in the trust, while patients said they felt cared for and had faith in the staff looking after them.

Inspectors did, however, warn there was sometimes a shortage of staff on medical wards. The trust should also takes steps to ensure all patients and their relatives were involved in “do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation” decisions, it said.

CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “We identified a great deal of good practice at Homerton University Hospital – most notably in the A&E, the first to be rated as outstanding after one of our new style inspections.

Mike Richards

“I am sure that other hospitals might benefit by looking at what this trust is doing to try to reduce A&E attendances when people would be better off receiving treatment or care within the community.”

For example, the trust has introduced the role of a non-clinical “navigator”, who helps patients attending its Primary Urgent Care Centre to register with GP – avoiding the need to attend A&E.

“Despite our findings being generally positive, there were some areas in which we’ve told the trust it must make some changes – most notably in ensuring there are always enough staff on duty on the medical wards,” he said.

“The trust has told us they will take action – and we’ll return in due course to check that these changes have been made,” he added.

Trust chief executive Tracey Fletcher said: “The recognition of the services provided by our A&E team, and its achievement in being one of the first departments to be rated as ‘outstanding’, is particularly pleasing.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • The Truth about Homerton Hospital Maternity Unit
    The above article refers to concerns about patient safety raised by the unhappy midwives group (UM) to former Chief Executive Nancy Hallett and current CEO Tracey Fletcher from as far back as June 2012 to current.
    I’ve had the privileged opportunity of working with and where possible given advice to this group of genuine whistleblowing midwives. The UM are simply campaigning for a safer maternity unit and equality in their employment. As a very concerned member of the public, with a very good understanding of the concerning state of affairs within Homerton’s maternity department, I would like to respond in support of the UM group.
    As this is a matter of public safety and matters lying within the public’s interest, I feel bound to respond to this article. My delayed response is intentional as I felt that it was important to wait for the CQC’s report on Homerton Hospital- with particular interest in the maternity department. This report is now out. Follow link-
    http://www.cqc.org.uk/directory/rqxm1
    As you will see - the CQC gave Homerton’s maternity department a ‘Good’ rating. This is despite the CQC being supplied with overwhelming evidence of clinical incidents leading to harm and avoidable deaths of babies and mothers in the Homerton’s maternity department. Evidence indicates that the CQC did not review any of these clinical incidents. Which begs the question – How did the CQC arrive at the conclusion that the Homerton’s maternity unit is safe? – and more to the point - Can the public really believe that the CQC has been revamped and is of greatly improved standards as we’ve all been led to believe?
    The Unhappy Midwives (UM)
    The concerns of the UM surround a number of avoidable deaths within the maternity unit(services) and what they understand to be deep seated and entrenched racism within the maternity department - to such an extent that it affects patient care. Grave concerns were raised by the UM about a number of clinical incidents which the midwives believe led to the avoidable deaths of mothers and babies in their unit.
    Particularly, the midwives expressed concerns that a midwife in their midst is singularly linked to the death of four or more babies in a three year period yet this midwife continues to practice unchallenged, thus continuing to place patients at risk. Evidence suggests that such a shocking statistic relating to a single midwife is rare if not non-existent in the western world!
    Also, the UM raised concerns about the deaths of two mothers in their unit in less than 3 months (July-October 2013). Some of the UM’s concerns include the fact that certain midwives were directly involved in serious clinical incidents which led to harm and death of babies although patient safety concerns were previously raised about these same midwives.
    Please note that the UM’s concerns are in relation to their maternity unit only and have no bearings on the remainder of the departments within Homerton Hospital.
    Homerton’s Flawed Internal Investigation
    In response to the concerns raised by the UM in June 2012 - former CEO Nancy Hallett stated that she conducted an internal ‘investigation’ and concluded that the midwives concerns were ‘unfounded’. She proceeded to warn the midwives that if they continued to raise concerns on these matters the trust would ‘engage with the relevant authorities in pursuing action with regard to these’ and point blankly declared that she wanted no further contact from the UM. However, in Ms Hallett’s response to Diane Abbott MP about these grave concerns, she falsely stated that she offered to meet with the UM with an independent mediator.
    The UM informed Ms Hallett that they believed that her ‘internal investigation’ was flawed. Because of Ms Hallett’s threats they sought other avenues through which to raise their concerns. Follow link-
    See bottom of page for link to Email from UM to Nancy Hallett
    The City and Hackney CCG’s (C&H CCG) Commissioned Review into the UM’s concerns
    Faced with failures from their trust to acknowledge the grave conditions in their maternity unit, the UM brought their concerns to the CQC, the Department of Health, NHSLA, the London LSA, the NMC amongst other organisations. In July 2012 - the CQC failed to acknowledge or respond to the UM’s concerns.
    The City & Hackney CCG contacted the UM in May 2013 and subsequently offered to commission an investigation into their concerns.
    There have been a number of correspondences between the CCG and the UM over several months which shows that the UM were committed to patient safety and worked closely and cooperatively with the CCG lead. The UM facilitated a meeting between the CCG and an intermediary to further address their concerns. Thus, the CCG’s spokesperson statement as above, that ‘the CCG was contacted by an anonymous person or persons suggesting they are midwives at the Homerton University Hospital Trust claiming concerns about safety issues at the trust,’ seems wholly unfathomable.
    The UM were not satisfied with the CCG’s Terms of Reference for investigation into their concerns as they felt they were limited in their scope. They provided additional Terms of Reference to the CCG - but The CCG did not incorporate the UM’s additional terms into the investigation. The UM contacted the Department of Health with their concerns about the C&H CCG’s investigation. Follow Link-
    See bottom of page for link to
    Emails between UM and Dr Clare Highton (CCG Lead)
    C&H CCG Terms of Reference (ToR)
    UM’s suggested additional (ToR)
    Email from DoH to UM


    False Statements by HUH’S CEO- Ms Tracey Fletcher
    In the article above - in an extract from the trust’s report, Ms Fletcher falsely stated-
    ‘The trust has attempted to engage with the group and responded to their emails but to no avail and they remain anonymous.’ (Trust Board Meeting in September 2013)
    This statement was proven to be a blatant and deliberate lie by this CEO as there is evidence that six months prior to Ms Fletcher’s statement - the UM informed the CEO that they were willing to meet with her provided that certain conditions were met. Despite the trust Board receiving clear evidence of this false statement by Ms Fletcher, Ms Fletcher has made no attempt to withdraw her statement. Here is the evidence. Follow link-
    See bottom of page for link to
    Emails between Tracey Fletcher and UM AND
    Email to Chairman from UM
    The above linked emails prove that Ms Fletcher knowingly misled the trust and the public on this matter. The truth is - it is Ms Fletcher who failed to respond to the UM. I have no doubt that had this been a clinician, they would have faced disciplinary proceedings and most probably, hauled up before their regulatory council. The fear of retaliation and reprisal, and to prove that their concerns were genuine and not malicious - meant the UM felt it necessary to make this conditional request. This request entailed for the meeting to include a member of a police authority and others amongst the panel. Homerton’s CEO ignored this response but chose to make a false statement six months later to the trust board and the public that the UM failed to engage with the trust.
    Homerton CEO refers UM’s Patient Safety Concerns to NHS Protect- alleging harassment
    It is ironic that Ms Hallett, Homerton’s former CEO threatened the UM ‘to engage with the relevant authorities in pursuing action’ and Ms Fletcher referred the concerns of the UM to NHS Protect yet the latter CEO refused to respond to a request to meet with the midwives in the presence of these very same authorities that they relied on as basis for their threats. The trust’s referral of the UM’s patient safety concerns to NHS Protect under the premise of alleged harassment is disgraceful and utterly unacceptable. Not forgetting the strain on the public purse. This situation demonstrates clear evidence that Homerton Hospital does not encourage speaking out safely. Follow link -
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/reporting_of_whistleblowers_by_h#incoming-501012
    From the above FOI Request it can be seen that NHS Protect took no actions against the UM. And quite rightly so – the UM are raising patient safety concerns. Why should they be penalized for this? It appears that Ms Fletcher was quite keen to suppress these concerns hence falsely labelling them of being ‘vindictive’ and causing harassment.
    The City and Hackney CCG’s Flawed Review/Investigation
    The following information about the City and Hackney CCG (C&H CCG) is noteworthy-
    Dr Clare Highton (C&H CCG lead) has refused to acknowledge the concerns of the midwives about the investigation. Most notably, as I understand it - on 27th October 2013, at a meeting with an intermediary selected by the UM, Ms Maureen Brown (the lead investigating midwife selected by NHS England (NHSE) stated that she did not have any knowledge of the list of clinical incidents compiled by the midwives and sent to Dr Highton at her request since July 2013. This suggests that these clinical incidents were not passed on to be reviewed/investigated. By then, the review team had spent 3 days in the Homerton Hospital.
    What exactly was the external team (CCG lead midwife and team) reviewing/investigating?
    The UM expressed that Ms Brown was instead, focused on disproving racism in their unit despite investigations of this nature not falling within the remit of the CCG. Dr Clare Highton has failed to acknowledge or make any contact with the UM since their complaint to her in October 2013, despite the CCG’s review being commissioned into the UM’s concerns.
    See bottom of page for link to
    Emails between UM and CCG (Email 1)
    Emails from UM to Maureen Brown (Email 2)
    Emails from UM to Dr Highton (Email 3)
    Delays in the CCG’s Report
    There are grave concerns that this report remains outstanding. According to the response to an FOI directed to the CCG, this report was scheduled to be released in December 2013. Follow link-
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/city_and_hackney_ccg_investigati#incoming-462117
    However- in the article above, as of 9th April 2014, the CCG was still awaiting the final report. Most notably, it appears that this report has been tactically delayed until after the CQC inspection report on HUH.
    The delay in the provision of this report by CCG raises many unanswered questions. The fact that this investigation is surrounding the deaths of mothers and babies makes it all the more important and as such, severely delaying a report of this nature is unacceptable.
    It is believed that Homerton Hospital is hiding under the assumed credibility of an ‘external CCG investigation’. This particular investigation however has been fraught with flaws and failures right from the start. In the article above, the CCG state that the UM’s concerns were ‘thoroughly investigated’ by the trust and they are conducting this review to ‘assure [themselves]’. Thus, based on the CCG spokesperson’s comments above - it is safe to say, it’s a foregone conclusion that the City and Hackney CCG will find ‘no concerns’ within Homerton’s maternity unit and the outcome of the CCG’s investigation appears to be already predetermined. In light of the serious clinical incidents of concern, this is an exceedingly disturbing thought.
    I understand that during this lengthy wait for the CCG’s report - there have been serious clinical incidents that led to patient’s harm and death within Homerton’s maternity department. There are reported cases of further never events yet the CCG continues to delay with this report.
    THE CQC’s Intelligent Monitoring- Homerton Hospital Band 1 Risk Rating
    - In October 2013- The CQC’s Intelligent Monitoring System placed Homerton Hospital in the highest risk category (Band 1). Follow Link-
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/patients-at-risk-unsafe-care-2528136
    Does the HUH’s current favourable CQC report indicate that the CQC’s Intelligent Monitoring System is not that ‘intelligent’ after all? The HUH is seen to have moved from the Highest risk banding (Band 1) to a very favourable position. This doesn’t make any sense at all.
    The CQC’s Reliance on City and Hackney CCG’s Flawed Investigation
    After experiencing failures with the CCG’s flawed investigation and after Dr Highton’s refusal to acknowledge or respond to the UM’s concerns - the UM decided to contact the CQC once again.
    The UM decided to give the CQC a chance to rectify their previous failures in acknowledging their concerns. And they decided to offer to meet with the CQC in order to voice these concerns with the hope that they would be finally addressed. This request was met with silence despite an initial response that CQC Compliance Inspector would contact the UM with regards to a meeting.
    Evidence of communication between Michelle Golden, CQC’s Compliance Inspector and the UM indicates that the CQC simply ‘raised the issues’ the UM brought to their attention ‘with the trust’, albeit the fact that these ‘issues’ include serious clinical incidents leading to severe harm of patients. In their recent inspection, the CQC did not review the clinical incidents of concern identified by the UM - as they were assured by Homerton that these incidents were being reviewed by the CCG (flawed investigation).
    So, if the CQC did not review these clinical incidents of concern, how can the CQC say they ‘found no evidence to substantiate’ the UM’s ‘allegations’? There are so many unanswered questions around the CQC’s investigation of Homerton’s maternity unit. The evidence suggests that CQC was not as thorough in their inspection of Homerton’s maternity unit as they would have the public believe.
    The CQC Inspection of Homerton Hospital
    There is evidence to prove that the CQC and Michele Golden CQC’s Compliance Inspector were informed by the UM of the following-
    • The complete list of clinical incidents that resulted in what the midwives believe to be avoidable deaths in the maternity department. (After the UM lost confidence in the CCG’s flawed investigation).
    • The blatant lies of the HUH CEO’s regarding the UM.
    • That certain midwives in the maternity department were coached and planted by maternity managers on exactly how to respond to CQC inspectors.
    • That certain staff (vocal midwives) were blocked (unexplained changes to rota or shift) from speaking to CQC Inspectors.
    There is evidence of the following-
    • The CQC failed to facilitate the UM’s initial request to meet with them.
    • Michele Golden (CQC Inspector) only decided to invite the UM to speak about their concerns on leadership after HUH was inspected by the CQC team and given a preliminary favourable result. The UM informed Mrs Golden that this was unacceptable as the CQC failed to honour their initial request to meet and they believed that any meeting with the CQC at that late stage would come across as retaliatory.
    • The UM referred Mrs Golden to make an assessment on leadership by assessing the vast amount of evidential documents that they provided to the CQC in July 2012 and over the past months. They made specific reference to certain evidence proving that their main leader (Tracey Fletcher) lied and misled the public and the trust. As such, the UM stated to the CQC that the evidence provided by them shows poor leadership from the top downwards. The UM believe that they were failed by the CQC once again. Please judge for yourselves. Follow Link-

    See bottom of page for link to
    Email from UM to Michele Golden (CQC) (Email 1)
    Email from Michele Golden to UM (Email 2)
    Email from UM TO Michele Golden (Email 3)

    The Belief that CQC has Failed the Public
    It is believed that it is in the CQC’s best interest that HUH maternity was given a ‘Good’ rating as Homerton has been given the green light in past inspections due to failures on their part (CQC). The CQC was contacted about patient safety concerns by the UM as far back as July 2012 and they took no action whatsoever. There have been a number of preventable tragedies at Homerton’s maternity unit between the period from which the UM contacted the CQC to present. Thus, I believe it is in the CQC’s interest that Homerton maternity unit is given a ‘good’ rating as anything less would implicate the CQC and render them accountable and culpable for these tragedies. Follow Link-
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/patient_safety_concerns_racism_a_2#outgoing-296576
    By giving Homerton’s maternity unit a ‘good’ rating, I strongly believe that the CQC has provided false reassurances to the public at large.
    This bears certain similarities to CQC’s actions at Furness General Maternity Unit.
    With reference to Furness General the CQC is quoted as saying-
    "The report shows how CQC provided false assurances to the public and to [healthcare regulator] Monitor in 2010. We were slow to identify failings at the trust and then slow to take action. We should not have registered UHMB without conditions. We let people down, and we apologise for that." Follow link-
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jun/19/cqc-nhs-cover-up-maternity-ward

    The London Local Supervisory Authority (LSA)
    As part of their patient safety campaign - the UM contacted the London LSA and offered to arrange a meeting with them to discuss their patient safety concerns. The LSA is responsible for ensuring the statutory supervision of all midwives. However the LSA too were waiting on the outcome of the CCG’s investigation. Follow Link-
    See bottom of page for link to
    Email between UM and LSA
    Conclusion
    Maureen Brown - the selected midwife leading the CCG’s commissioned review had no knowledge of the clinical incidents of concern despite the incidents having been submitted by the UM to the CCG via Dr Clare Highton (CCG Lead) several months earlier. On the other hand, the CQC has given these clinical incidents a ‘wide berth’ as they have been assured by Homerton that the incidents are being reviewed under the CCG’s commissioned review, (7 months on)!
    What does this say to the public about the review of these clinical incidents of concern and the exact state of affairs within Homerton’s maternity? Were these incidents reviewed - if at all? This seems to be a complete and utter cover up of the truth!
    It is believed that failures by certain organizations to act or respond in time to patient concerns raised by the UM, means that additional harm to patients could have quite possibly been prevented. Because of this reason - I believe the organizations in question have either remained silent or have responded in favour of HUH in what appears to be one of the biggest cover-ups in the NHS today.
    A CEO who reports whistleblowers to NHS Protect and a predecessor who threatens to engage with the relevant authorities in pursuing action against them – Can one honestly say that Homerton Hospital supports speaking out safely? My answer to this is a resounding NO!
    The public would be shocked to learn the details of the clinical incidents of concern. This would explain the reason why the CCG’s terms of reference as above, include sharing the report with the ‘stakeholders upon completion’. To the contrary, the UM suggested that the report to be shared with the public. It is no surprise then that City and Hackney CCG failed to take on board the UM suggestion. Judging by the perceived cover- ups and the flawed investigations, I suspect that the details of the clinical incidents contain information which Homerton does not want the public to know.
    Over the weekend of 26th -27th April 2014 – I understand that another mother died at Homerton Hospital maternity department. This is the 4th maternal death linked to Homerton’s maternity in approximately 9 months. My deepest sympathy to the family of this mother who has lost her life.
    With the evidence provided - can one be truly confident that the CQC gave the correct grading to Homerton maternity unit? My answer to this is also a resounding NO!

    Please follow link below for more information
    http://wp.me/P4A9w0-g

    Unsuitable or offensive?


  • CQC’S FAILURES AT HOMERTON HOSPITAL’S MATERNITY UNIT

    I’ve had the privileged opportunity of working with and where possible given advice to this group of genuine whistleblowing midwives. The Unhappy Midwives (UM) of Homerton Hospital are simply campaigning for a safer maternity unit and equality in their employment. As a very concerned member of the public, with a very good understanding of the concerning state of affairs within Homerton’s maternity department I would like to respond to the CQC’s report on Homerton’s maternity unit.

    As this is a matter of public safety and matters lying within the public’s interest, I will respond to this section of the CQC’s report. The CQC stated-

    Leadership and culture

    1. CQC stated:

    2. Midwives, doctors and family planning nurses told us they reported incidents without blame and were aware of the processes in place should they need to whistle blow or raise any concerns about the quality of care delivered.

    3. EA response:
    The staff members mentioned above, do they constitute or represent the maternity unit as a whole?

    4. CQC stated:
    However, since July 2012 we have had contact from correspondents who said they were a group of midwives who were whistleblowers.

    5. EA response:
    Correct. The Unhappy Midwives (UM) made contact with CQC since July 2012. What the CQC has conveniently failed to mention is that they ignored the midwives in July 2012 and did not respond to their concerns. Also, the CQC is now readily admitting that the UM contacted them in July 2012. In a previous FOI request - the CQC was seen to be economical with the truth. Follow this link-

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/patient_safety_concerns_racism_a_2#outgoing-296576

    6. CQC stated:
    Our contact with them has been by email and they have maintained their anonymity.

    7. EA’s response:
    The CQC has failed to mention that the UM requested to meet with them and there was a failure by the CQC to facilitate this request despite a promise to do so.

    8. CQC stated:
    They made allegations of racism and poor leadership not only of the maternity services but of the trust as a whole.

    9. EA response:
    The concerns of the UM relate to their maternity unit only and the CEO Ms Tracey Fletcher not the trust as a ‘whole’ as stated by the CQC.

    With regards to racism within the maternity services – there is evidence that the UM have always stated that their campaign was around patient safety and equality. They provided evidence to the CQC and other organizations (CCG included) of the difference in treatment of black midwives as compared to their white counterparts. The UM identified that this was in turn affecting patient care as in the case of the midwife who has had multiple deaths of babies in her care yet continues to practice unchallenged.

    I understand that in 2012 the UM raised concerns that black midwives were being penalized, disciplined and placed under supervised practice for minor errors by their white managers whilst the white midwives were treated leniently despite being involved in serious clinical incidents leading to severe harm. The UM have always been clear that despite having a Head of Midwifery, who is black this makes no difference at all as their Head is not pro-active and ‘turns a blind-eye’ to the situation.

    Judge for yourselves. Follow Link-

    FOI BY MP 001
    MP Diane Abbott FOI Request to Homerton

    The above FOI request from Diane Abbott MP to Homerton Hospital regarding disciplinary proceedings involving BME midwives in 2011 and 2012 shows-

    It can be seen that in 2011- no white midwives were subject to disciplinary/capability procedure proceedings as compared to 8 black midwives. Please note that the number of white midwives who were subject to these proceedings shot up to 8 in 2012. Important fact: In 2012 - the UM raised concerns to the trust about racism in the maternity unit. The UM states that the sudden disciplining of white midwives in 2012 was a kneejerk reaction by management- in their attempt to disprove racism.

    The same trend is seen in those midwives subject to disciplinary proceedings who received an informal warning. It is noteworthy that this response by HUH is presented in such a way that where there are huge discrepancies in treatment - there is no number allocated e.g. the number of white midwives subject to disciplinary proceedings in 2011 was zero - but this is not stated.

    Most worryingly- in an FOI request, Homerton admits that they do not have a designated Equality and Diversity Officer and this has been the case for the past 15 yrs!

    Follow Link-

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/allegations_of_racism_within_hom#outgoing-307473

    It is utterly unacceptable that a hospital which serves such a diverse and cosmopolitan population and staff does not have a designated Equality and Diversity Officer. As I understand it, there is history of racism within Homerton maternity unit dating back to 1999. I understand that this led to the Office for Public Management (OPM) being drafted in to deal with staff dissatisfaction. Follow Links-

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/midwives_concerns_racism_prejudi#outgoing-276238

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/patient_safety_concerns_racism_a#outgoing-274395


    Homerton’s CEO False Statement - Misleading of the Trust and the Public

    Evidence was provided to the CQC and Michele Golden (CQC’s Compliance Inspector) by the UM of the CEO’s lies and her misleading of the trust and the public.

    In an extract from the trust’s report, Ms Fletcher falsely stated-

    ‘The trust has attempted to engage with the group and responded to their emails but to no avail and they remain anonymous.’ (Trust Board Meeting in September 2013)
    Follow Link-

    http://www.homerton.nhs.uk/uploaded_files/About_the_Trust/Trust%20Board/Minutes_2013/board_papers_oct_2013.pdf (See page 2)

    This statement was proven to be a blatant and deliberate lie by this CEO as there is evidence that six months prior to Ms Fletcher’s statement - the UM informed the CEO that they were willing to meet with her provided that certain conditions were met.

    For the record, despite the UM agreeing to meet Ms Fletcher and discuss their concerns in front of a panel, which included a member of a police authority and an MP - Ms Fletcher chose not to respond. However - Ms Fletcher subsequently misled the public and the trust board into believing that the UM failed to engage with the trust.

    I am of the view that Ms Fletcher’s conduct is unacceptable and amounts to abuse of position and authority. I believe that this is a clear case of misconduct in public office by Ms Fletcher.

    Despite the Trust Board receiving clear evidence of this false statement by Ms Fletcher, Ms Fletcher has made no attempt to withdraw her statement.

    Follow link-

    Emails between Tracey Fletcher and UM AND
    Email to Chairman from UM

    The emails above prove that Ms Fletcher knowingly misled the trust and the public on this matter. The truth is - it is Ms Fletcher who failed to respond to the midwives. Had it been a clinician who made this false statement, I have no doubt they would have faced disciplinary proceedings and be hauled up before their regulatory council. Because of fear of retaliation and reprisal, the midwives requested certain conditions to be met as indicated in the above email of 12th April 2013.

    Response from NHS Protect to FOI Request about the reporting of whistleblowers

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/reporting_of_whistleblowers_by_h#incoming-501012

    The trust’s referral of the UM’s patient safety concerns to NHS Protect under the premise of alleged harassment is utterly unacceptable. The response to the FOI Request from NHS Protect shows that NHS Protect did not take any action against the UM and quite rightly so.

    The UM informed Ms Golden (CQC’s Compliance Inspector) that their CEO misled the public and the trust and as such there are concerns about the leadership of their hospital.

    10. CQC stated:
    They had also raised allegations about the trust covering up avoidable deaths of newborn babies.

    11. EA response:
    The UM raised patient safety concerns to their former Chief Executive Nancy Hallett in June 2012. Ms Hallett stated that she carried out an ‘internal investigation’ and the midwives concerns were ‘unfounded’. She informed the UM that she no longer wished to enter into any further correspondence with them and threatened that should they continue to raise concerns - the trust would ‘engage with the relevant authorities in pursuing actions with regards to these.’

    The UM informed Ms Hallett that they were disappointed with her response and that they would continue seeking to have their patient safety concerns adequately addressed.

    Follow Link-

    Email from UM to Nancy Hallett

    The C&H CCG contacted the UM in May 2013 and offered to investigate their concerns. There is overwhelming evidence that the UM worked cooperatively with the CCG.

    CQC and City and Hackney CCG (C&H CCG) were sent a comprehensive list of the clinical incidents of concern. The additional Terms of Reference put forward to Dr Highton by the UM for the investigation was not incorporated. The midwives request for the CCG’s report to be made available to the public was not accepted by the CCG.

    On 27th October 2013, an intermediary selected by the UM met with Ms Maureen Brown the lead investigating midwife (selected by NHS England). Ms Brown works as a lecturer at Coventry University. As I understand it - at this meeting, Ms Brown stated that she had not seen nor was given a list of clinical incidents by C&H CCG. Thus, the credibility of the CCG’s investigation was greatly reduced for this reason amongst others.


    Emails between UM and Dr Clare Highton (CCG Lead)
    C&H CCG Terms of Reference (ToR)
    UM’s suggested additional (ToR)
    Email from DoH to UM

    Please judge for yourselves- Compare the UM’s terms of reference to that of the C&H CCG. The UM’s terms are far more comprehensive. The UM requested for these additional terms to be included in the CCG’s investigation/review – their request was not granted. The UM informed the Department of Health of their concerns about the C&H CCG’s investigation.

    In October 2013 - Dr Highton (CCG lead) discontinued contact with the UM when they complained about the lead investigating midwife not being given a list of the clinical incidents passed on to Dr Highton by the UM, 3 months prior (since July 2013). Which begs the question- what exactly was the lead midwife reviewing/investigating?

    Follow link-

    Emails between UM and CCG (Email 1)
    Emails from UM to Maureen Brown (Email 2)
    Emails from UM to Dr Highton (Email 3)

    Fact One: One midwife’s practice at Homerton’s maternity unit is linked to the deaths of four or more babies during her short midwifery career.

    Fact Two: One midwife linked to the death and harm to babies is holding two trusts to ransom over cover ups at HUH maternity.

    Fact Three: Patient safety concerns were raised about certain midwives and despite this, babies later died in the care of those midwives.

    12. CQC stated:
    In February 2013 we inspected the maternity services at the trust and did not find evidence to substantiate their allegations.

    13. EA response:
    Could it be possible that CQC inspectors ignored, missed or delayed looking into the allegations of patient safety concerns and this could have contributed to this situation where it’s in the CQC’s interest not to ‘find any evidence’ to support the allegations. Let’s not forget CQC’s failings at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (Furness General Maternity Unit). The CQC gave this trust the green light when it was failing to meet essential standards.

    Follow Links-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-20960587

    http://www.cqc.org.uk/media/cqc-publishes-independent-report-its-registration-and-oversight-university-hospitals-morecambe

    http://www.channel4.com/news/nhs-cqc-cover-up-hospital-morecambe-bay-titcombe

    I do not believe that the ‘culture’ within the CQC has really changed as they would have us believe.

    14. CQC stated:
    The trust carried out internal reviews to address their concerns but found no evidence to substantiate them.

    15. EA response:
    Did the CQC inspect the reports from the mentioned internal review?

    16. CQC stated:
    The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) completed an external review which they had not published at the time of writing this report.

    17. EA response:
    According to CCG - this report was due out in December 2013. Follow Link-

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/city_and_hackney_ccg_investigati#incoming-462117


    In Homerton’s Trust Board Report (October 2013) CEO Ms Tracey Fletcher had this to say-

    ‘The CCG review began on 7th October 2013 and two of the individuals commissioned to do this work spent three days within the organisation. Their backgrounds were as a Midwifery Lecturer and a Head of Midwifery, both from the midlands area. We are still awaiting confirmation as to when a report will be made available to the CCG. ‘

    (http://www.homerton.nhs.uk/uploaded_files/About_the_Trust/Trust%20Board/Minutes_2013/board_papers_oct_2013.pdf


    As of 9 April 2014 - a CCG spokesperson stated that they were currently awaiting the report.

    Doesn’t it seem odd that there has been such a long delay in completing this report? It is believed that the C&H CCG has been tactical and deliberately waited for the CQC to complete their inspection. It is noteworthy that the CQC was given assurance from Homerton that C&H CCG were reviewing the clinical incidents of concern - hence no need for the CQC to review them. It seems that Homerton was able to hide under the cover of the CCG review. With the existing concerns about the credibility of the City &Hackney CCG review - what does this say to the public? I believe there is room for cover -ups.

    18. CQC stated:
    During our inspection we held focus groups for maternity staff which were well attended.

    19. EA response: The CQC was informed by the UM that certain maternity staff was coached by maternity managers on exactly how to respond to the CQC and these coached midwives attended the focus groups. Also - Ms Golden (CQC Compliance Inspector) was informed that certain midwives (vocal midwives) were blocked from speaking to CQC staff.

    20. CQC stated:
    At this inspection,we found no evidence to support allegations of racism or poor leadership.

    21. EA response:
    Substantial evidence supporting such allegations was supplied to the CQC.
    The above link of Diane Abbott’s MP FOI request to HUH provides support to the ‘allegations of racism’ and difference in treatment between black and white midwives.
    I fail to understand how the CQC came to their conclusion. How was their investigation into ‘racism’ carried out?

    As for the evidence of poor leadership –there is evidence that this was provided to the CQC by the UM.

    22. CQC stated:
    We did invite the group to come to CQC to meet with us to discuss their concerns but it was not possible to arrange a meeting.

    23. EA response:
    The UM requested to meet with the CQC. Michele Golden failed to respond to this request. Instead she insisted they should attend one of the focus groups which was more or less asking them to reveal themselves. After Homerton was inspected and given a preliminary favourable result - Ms Golden later requested a meeting with the UM stating that she wanted to listen to their concerns about ‘leadership’. The midwives politely declined this request and stated to Ms Golden that this would come across as retaliatory and this meeting should have taken place before the inspection. The UM pointed out to Ms Golden her failings in not facilitating a meeting with them before the inspection.

    Emails between CQC and UM
    Email from UM to Michele Golden (CQC)
    Email from Michele Golden to UM (Email 2)
    Email from UM TO Michele Golden (Email 3)

    24. CQC stated:
    We have said they can contact CQC in the future if they wish to.

    25. EA response:
    Ms Golden only decided to meet with UM following her unfounded and disproved accusations of UM breaching of confidence. The issue surrounded a letter from another trust which proved patient safety concerns and the dishonesty of the Homerton’s Head of Midwifery.

    26. CQC stated:
    We will continue to monitor the trust with respect to their reporting of untoward incidents and where concerns are raised.

    27. EA response:
    I fail to see the point in anyone reporting anything or raising concerns to the CQC. I will soon be publishing details and evidence of what I consider to be serious concerns at the HUH maternity and where the Data Protection Act allows, name and shame the perpetrators. I also hope that every parent or guardian affected by the cover- up will assist in the campaign to rid HUH of bad practice in the maternity department.

    The CQC failed to act on the blatant dishonest actions of HUH’S Head of Midwifery who lied about serious practice concerns of midwife mentioned above under fact two?

    The CQC & the HUH trust failed to take action against CEO Ms Tracey Fletcher for her dishonesty in misleading the trust board staff and the public about the UM group?

    The CQC did not review the clinical incidents of concern - there is therefore no basis for the CQC to state that there is no evidence to support the UM’s allegations.


    The London Local Supervisory Authority (LSA)

    As part of their patient safety campaign, the UM contacted the London LSA and offered to arrange a meeting with them to discuss their patient safety concerns. The LSA is responsible for ensuring the statutory supervision of all midwives. However the LSA too were waiting on the outcome of the CCG’s investigation. Follow Link-


    Email between UM and LSA

    I would like extend my deepest sympathy to the family of the mother who died at Homerton Hospital over this past weekend (26-27th April 2014). This is the 4th maternal death linked to Homerton maternity unit in less than 9 months. And the CQC states that Homerton maternity is safe. I believe that the CQC is unanswerable to continued failings in this department.

    Let’s not forget the following headlines;
    NHS cover-up perpetrators 'not shielded by data protection laws' –

    Jeremy Hunt condemns CQC 'cover-up' as totally unacceptable

    Please follow link below for more information
    http://wp.me/P4A9w0-g

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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