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Maternity service told to 'make improvements'.

A maternity service has been told to make improvements after several whistleblowers raised concerns.

The service, at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester, was inspected by health and care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Inspectors said staffing levels were lower than planned, morale was low and staff did not think their concerns were listened to. They also said that more midwives should be recruited urgently.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust's overall rating remained as "requires improvement", the same as its maternity services which were lowered from a "good" rating.

The inspection team said it had been concerned about the hospital's maternity services after it was contacted by four whistleblowers about safety in the department.

Inspectors said midwives told them the service was always short-staffed and they were often moved within the department.

They also found not all staff were up-to-date with training, did not always feel supported by managers and not all safety incidents were reported.

But the report said staff at the hospital did work as a team to give mothers and babies good care and had effective prevention and control measures for infection.

CQC chief inspector, Ted Baker, said: "Staff should never feel that their concerns are not listened to and we are pleased service managers have initiated meetings to listen to staff with a view to taking action in the problem areas."

In September, the trust's main hospitals, including the Royal, were moved out of special measures after nearly five years.

The CQC has told the trust it must make improvements that include listening to staff, monitoring staffing levels and reporting and learning from all incidents.

Chief nursing officer at the trust, Vicky Morris, said they were already making changes related to staffing concerns before the inspection.

She said: "We have run a very successful recruitment campaign for midwives and, once the next round of recruitment is completed, we should have filled all our vacancies and recruited an additional 10 midwives."