>Further improvements will be made to Maternity services following internal report

Further improvements will be made to Maternity services following internal report

29 June 2017

The trust which runs maternity services in Shropshire has today published a report looking at the service over the last 10 years.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) strives to give the safest and kindest care to all mums and babies we look after. Whilst we achieve this on most occasions, we know we don’t always get it right every time for every family.

Most of the time birth is a normal and natural event, but sometimes things can go wrong, and sadly sometimes things can go badly wrong with a lasting impact for all involved. As a Trust, SaTH has committed to making sure we learn from every incident where we know we could have done things better.

To continue that learning, SaTH today published an internal review of maternity services looking back over the past 10 years. The Trust has also invited the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives to independently review our clinical practice and welcomes NHS Improvement’s review of Trust practices, commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health. Together the three reviews will give us a full picture of our maternity services.

Simon Wright, Chief Executive at SaTH, said: “The internal review published today looks at our culture, systems and processes and how far they support safety, openness and learning.

“We decided to conduct our own internal review to make sure that we had the opportunity, as soon as possible, to really understand how things currently work within our service and to identify where we can improve our systems, processes, culture and ways of working to help us be the very best we can be for the families we support and care for.

“This report will, in conjunction with the review by the Royal Colleges and the report from NHS Improvement which will be published later in the year, ensure that we have a full picture of our Maternity service and areas that need further improvement, as well as areas where we are doing well.

“We know we haven’t always done as well as we might have in the past, but we are changing that, and today’s report builds on our candour and transparency of recent years to be more open and accountable than we have been. We believe this is critical if we are to continuously learn and improve.” 

Today’s report makes a number of recommendations for further improvements, which the Trust is committed to implementing in full. They include:

  • Building on the ‘sign up to safety’ model to draw up one safety plan, ensuring that all maternity staff understand their role in implementing preventative and reactive safety arrangements
  • Encouraging staff to take ownership of incidents and complaints
  • Exploring better ways of learning from incidents and errors
  • Strengthening the review process for guidelines and protocols to ensure they don’t go beyond their review date
  • Investigate individual stillbirth and neonatal deaths using a standardised process, advocating for families, involving parents and using independent multi-disciplinary peer-review

Simon said: “It is important that all women who are currently using our services or who are about to access them, as well as their partners, are reassured about the safety of those services. We have a team of committed Doctors, Midwives and other health professionals who are proud to provide high quality care day in, day out. 

“However, we know that we can still continue to improve. Perinatal deaths have fallen since 2009, but we recognise that further action is needed so that this continues to fall. We have made a determined effort to improve monitoring of babies’ heartbeats, including regular training and investment in equipment to promote safer use and better interpretation of results.

“Our focus is  now on implementing the recommendations in this report. We are also clear we need to develop new models of care that help us to make sure we have the right number of staff in the right place to support local women.  We want to ensure the high proportion of local women choosing to give birth in our Consultant-Led Unit, and the smaller numbers of women choosing our Midwife-Led Units (MLUs) or home births, experience the kind, safe care we would all want for our own family.”