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Exclusive: Homerton set to be cleared by latest probe into midwife claims

An external investigation at Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust’s maternity services has failed to substantiate claims of unsafe care and racism made by an anonymous group of midwives, Nursing Times has learnt.

The independent review was commissioned by NHS City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group in the light of ongoing allegations made by the group, which calls itself the “unhappy midwives”.

The group has made claims about what it describes as “the avoidable deaths of mothers and babies” and a culture of racial discrimination.

“We will ask the Homerton to formally respond. We will then publish the report”

CCG spokeswoman

The review for the CCG followed two internal investigations by the trust into the midwives’ claims and a routine inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

As previously reported by Nursing Times, the trust maintains it has fully investigated the allegations and the unit is safe. Chief executive Tracey Fletcher has described the group’s campaign as “vindictive”.

The CQC’s inspection report, published at the end of April, said it found “no evidence” to support allegations of unsafe care, racism or poor leadership.

Now a source close to the CCG-commissioned review has told Nursing Times the latest findings are “broadly in line with the previous reviews”. However, it is expected to make a number of recommendations to help the trust ensure documentation and processes meet best practice.

The review team consisted of a lead midwife for education who was also an appointed supervisor of midwives, a head of midwifery, a consultant obstetrician and an HR advisor – all from outside London. They are said to have spent “considerable time” investigating each incident of concern identified by the anonymous group.

A CCG spokeswoman confirmed it had now received a draft report on the team’s findings and was currently “in discussion with the review team to finalise the content”.

“This should be ready next month, at which point we will ask the Homerton to formally respond,” she said. “We will then publish the report and the Homerton’s response.”

Nursing Times has been in contact with the “unhappy midwives” via an intermediary. He claimed the group originated with a handful of midwives, but now numbered more than 30 people working in all areas of the maternity department.

Readers' comments (2)

  • 30 registered midwives are all wrong are all vindicitive - really? Interesting that on the same webpage is a link for the speak out safely campaign! It takes courage to speak out, most of us are hard working and speak out because we want patient care to be improved and we want our working conditions to be enhanced and the morale of our teams improved - not because we dont like our trust. We need our jobs and want our jobs but we just want things to be better. Yet again the people who are being victimised are the ones who are speaking out - not the ones who are delivering the poor care and treatment.

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  • When the chief exec describes the group as 'vindinctive' - makes you sit back doesn't it? Feels like people are digging trenches - and the danger here is that genuine concerns fall on deaf ears. Groups of professional people rarely put a lot of energy into something that is not in the best interests of their patients/service - even when at times their perceptions maybe clouded by self-interest. No smoke without fire as the saying goes - and the fact that the CCG are promising recomendations says that there are somethings that need to change doesn't it?

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