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Manchester hospital maternity units' care deteriorating, report says


Maternity services in Manchester must make significant improvements after a deterioration in care, inspectors said.

Managers at Wythenshawe and North Manchester General Hospitals were "not always assured staff were competent", a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report has said.

Saint Mary's Hospital's maternity service has also been ordered to urgently improve by the care watchdog. A hospital spokesman said "significant progress" had been made.

The CQC inspections focused on safety and leadership in the units. At North Manchester General Hospital, the CQC found that staff did not always work well together or control infection risks well and they did not always have access to enough suitable equipment to provide safe care for women and babies and opportunities to prevent, or minimize, harm were missed.

It was also found that staff could not always access care records and did not consistently manage medicines well. Evens so, the unit managed most safety incidents well and engaged well with people. Also, staff were focused on the needs of people receiving care and were clear about their roles.

At Wythenshawe Hospital, the CQC found that risks and action plans were not always followed up, the service did not always control infection risk well and some areas posed an infection risk.

Other findings included that staff did not always have access to suitable equipment and did not always assess, monitor or manage risks to people but staff worked well together and managed safety incidents well, engaged well with women and people using the service, and staff felt respected, supported, and valued.

Deputy director of secondary and specialist healthcare at the CQC, Carolyn Jenkinson, said: "When we inspected maternity services at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, it was disappointing to see a deterioration in the level of care being provided to women, people using the service and their babies.

"Due to our concerns, we issued the trust with a warning notice requiring them to make rapid improvements. We found leaders had the skills and abilities to run maternity services and understood the issues they faced. However, they didn't consistently address them in a timely way to ensure people were receiving safe care.

"Since the inspection the trust has developed an action plan and started to make improvements. We will continue to monitor it closely."

Chief nurse for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Prof Cheryl Lenney, said improvements had been made immediately after the report was published.

She added that the hospital was "fully committed to continually improving" services and had "full confidence in our people and our ability to provide great maternity services.”

Joint medical group director at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Toli Onon, said the trust was "disappointed and sorry" at the CQC's finding adding, "we care very much about the service that we give to women who choose to deliver with us."

She said changes in the triage processes meant women were now seen more quickly, delays for women needing induction of labour had been reduced and staff recruitment was ongoing. She added the trust wanted to give women "the best possible experience."