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Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust

Maternity services at Blackpool trust rated 'inadequate'

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The Care Quality Commission has warned Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust that it “requires improvement” following a visit under its new inspection regime.

The North West acute trust received the unfavourable rating from the regulator because of failings at its Blackpool Victoria Hospital site, where maternity and family services were judged to be “inadequate”.

A CQC inspection team visited the trust’s three main sites in January. The care regulator gave Clifton Hospital and Fleetwood Hospital overall ratings of “good”, and praised the trust as a whole on the caring nature of its services.

However, it found the Blackpool Victoria Hospital site required improvement to ensure it was safe, effective, responsive and well led. Of the eight services inspected at the site the CQC said four required improvement, and that a fifth – maternity and family services – was inadequate.

“We are cautiously optimistic that staff and management can deliver the improvements”

Mike Richards

The CQC’s inspection report said the hospital had a higher than expected rate of significant bleeding after childbirth and of subsequent hysterectomy. The trust has asked the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to help it independently investigate these cases.

Across maternity and family planning services, the CQC found the distribution of staff, staffing levels and the organisation of staffing were all “at times less than adequate”.

During periods of high bed occupancy there were occasions when women presented for induction of labour were sent home or had the process cancelled until later in the day, which the CQC said could put individuals at risk.

The trust’s maternity bed occupancy was reported as 97.3%, compared to a national average of around 60%.

Mike Richards

The CQC has issued it with a number of compliance actions, requiring it to send the regulator a report detailing what actions it is taking to improve standards.

The trust was one of the 14 reviewed by NHS England’s medical director Sir Bruce Keogh last year because of unusually high death rate indicators. The review highlighted a number of areas for improvement, but Blackpool was one of only three Keogh trusts not put in “special measures”.

Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said that the effort the trust had made in responding to the Keogh review “was there to see”, but that improvement had “a long way to go”.

He added: “We are cautiously optimistic that the staff and management team here can deliver the improvements which we require on behalf of their patients.”

“I anticipate that the [CQC] rating will improve very quickly”

Gary Doherty

Trust chief executive Gary Doherty said: “We are obviously aware that the inadequate rating given to maternity services will cause concern.

“Over the last six months we have had one [hystectomy], which puts us back at the expected level… I anticipate that the [CQC] rating will improve very quickly”.

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