70 families come forward to share their experiences with the Maternity Review Team

Seventy families came forward to take part in an independent review of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust maternity services.

The aim of the review is to ‘drive rapid improvements to maternity services in Nottingham focusing on issues where change is urgently needed’, following dozens of deaths and injuries to babies at the trust.

The Queen’s Medical Center and Nottingham City Hospital are both run by the organization.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS England are jointly leading the ‘thematic review’ of maternity incidents, complaints and concerns at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH).

The GCC has previously said engaging “every family with experience” will be part of the review.

Maternity services are rated as inadequate by Care Quality Commission inspectors and the trust as a whole is rated as ‘in need of improvement’.

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The review’s program manager, Cathy Purt, told a meeting of Nottingham City Council’s Health Review Committee on February 17: “We have started the review. We had 70 families come forward and 19 families had their first interview with us.

“We have obtained through the GCC specialist psychological support for the rest of the families so that they can now present themselves and also have their interviews.

“40 staff members have come forward so far and more will come as they come.

“We are reviewing board documents, the quality committee, we are also reviewing CCG board documents and NHS England documents.”

The review will cover information dating back to 2006 and is expected to be completed by November 30, 2022.

Chief Nursing Officer Michelle Rhodes and Director of Midwifery Sharon Wallis were slammed at the meeting by Chairperson Councilor Georgia Power (Lab).

They said they expected the trust to return to a ‘good’ or ‘exceptional’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) by mid-2024.

Councilor Power (Lab) replied, “We’ve had you here to talk about motherhood a couple of times and to talk about the issues at NUH.

“We have often felt frustrated with the information reaching us.

“The first time we had a NUH conference on motherhood was in January 2021 where they promised motherhood would be good or exceptional in 12 months. It’s been 13 years now and I think we can all agree that it’s neither good nor outstanding.

“It was like they didn’t have a realistic grasp on what was going on.”

Ms Wallis replied: “We believe that three years is a realistic target for a ‘good’ rating.

“We would like to be exceptional, but good is realistic. Considering the amount of work we have to do, it’s overkill, but it’s doable.

“It’s pretty overwhelming to be completely honest with you.”

Ms Rhodes added: ‘With all our hearts we want this to be fixed now, but it has to be realistic.

“Last time, you were reassured about something you shouldn’t have been.”

Staffing is also a ‘challenge’ at the trust, where an average of three or four midwives leave each month.

Ms Wallis added that there was recently a successful bid for 15 international midwives who will start in July.

Student midwives are also offered automatic positions instead of going through an application process.

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