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Maternity services at York and Scarborough hospitals rated inadequate


Maternity services at two North Yorkshire hospitals in have been rated inadequate by the health and care regulator.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was concerned "people couldn't access services" at York and Scarborough hospitals when needed and that its inspectors also found "poor leadership" affecting overall services.

The York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it would continue to work with the CQC to "address their recommendations.”

During the inspections, which ended in March 2023, inspectors found issues with safety measures and staff training, as well as a lack of qualified and trained midwifery staff, at both maternity units.

At York, they also found "significant concerns" with security tagging of newborn babies and its emergency call system.

CQC deputy director of operations in the north, Sarah Dronsfield, said: "The trust wasn't always providing maternity care in a way that was planned to meet the needs of local women and people using the services."

The CQC said urgent and emergency care in York remained inadequate, while Scarborough had improved slightly but was rated as requiring improvement.

Inspectors saw "dirty equipment and premises" and clinical waste not being managed appropriately. Overall the CQC rated the entire trust was rated as "requires improvement."

Ms Dronsfield said people using the trust's services were "being put at risk of harm from a lack of good processes.”

She added: "Although improvements had been made in medical care since we issued a warning notice in March last year, at our visit in October we found further serious concerns around maternity services and urgent and emergency care."

The trust said it had made improvements including "key leadership changes" within the past 12 months and "significant" recruitment of new staff including midwives, nurses and professionals from overseas.

Trust Chief executive, Simon Morritt,  said he accepted the findings and recognised "we have much more work to do.”

Medical director, York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Karen Stone, said: "We responded immediately to the urgent findings identified at the time of the inspection, and in the months since the visits, we have made positive progress against areas highlighted in the report."

In March 2022, the trust was issued a warning notice to make urgent improvements.

In 2021, a whistleblower claimed maternity service staffing levels at the trust were "putting women and babies' lives in danger every day.”