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”
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.