The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected our maternity service at Homerton University Hospital in early summer as part of the national maternity inspection programme, which aims to give an up-to-date view of hospital maternity care across the country. We are pleased that our hospital maternity services retained their ‘Good’ rating following this inspection, the full report is available on the CQC website.
The inspection team praised the clear vision and strategy for the continuing improvement of services and noted that staff in the department “felt respected, supported, and valued”.
They went on to say that our staff “were focused on the needs of women and birthing people receiving care. The service promoted equality and diversity in daily work and provided opportunities for career development. The service had an open culture where women and birthing people, their families and staff could raise concerns without fear”.
Two areas of outstanding practice were highlighted by the inspectors:
- The embedded relationships with the local Jewish community which accounts for just over 12% of women who have their care at Homerton University Hospital. Service leaders regularly engaged with the community and provided foetal wellbeing training to Jewish Doulas who support Jewish women during labour. A locked cupboard was provided which was stocked by the Jewish community with Kosher snacks for new mothers and was accessed by a Hebrew key code. Also, by engaging with the local Hatzalah voluntary Jewish paramedic group, who transfer women to the hospital for care.
- On the labour ward staff gave birth partners a wristband to identify them, this meant the ward clerk would not have to keep asking for their details each visit. Staff told us there would usually be a picture of partners known to be a risk to women and birthing people on labour ward at the ward clerk’s desk to identify them, and that ward clerks would be briefed about these cases.
Areas for improvement were also highlighted by the inspection team, who have asked us to take urgent action to improve medical staff numbers supporting the triage department to ensure the safe review of women and birthing people coming into the department and ensure that compliance in medical training for emergencies is maintained.
Our Chief Executive Louise Ashley said: “We are delighted that our maternity services have maintained their ‘Good’ rating from the CQC. This reflects the hard work and dedication of our doctors and midwives towards mothers and their babies.
“It is most gratifying that the inspectors recognised the sound leadership within the department and how the team works so hard to meet the health and cultural needs of all women and birthing people under our care. It is also extremely pleasing to be praised for areas of outstanding practice which can be shared with other maternity departments throughout the NHS.
“But we also recognise that there are a number of issues raised by the inspectors which we need to address as a matter of urgency and we are drawing up an action plan which we will share with the CQC over the next few weeks.”