CQC Report – Bedfordshire Hospitals’ Maternity Service

Date: 11/07/2024 | Category: Maternity

CQC Report – Bedfordshire Hospitals’ Maternity Service

Following the November 2023 CQC inspection visits of our maternity units at Bedford Hospital and the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, the CQC released its final report on 5 July 2024 in which they downgraded the Trust’s maternity services to ‘inadequate’.

Liz Lees, Chief Nurse (Executive Lead for Maternity) said,

“As a Trust committed to delivering excellent care, the CQC feedback was incredibly disappointing for us to hear but we are focussing our effort on ensuring that our maternity services consistently meets high quality standards of care.

“We are taking immediate action in the areas identified by the CQC, many of which have already been addressed since the inspection visit in November 2023.

“It was really upsetting to hear that our international midwives reported issues of discrimination. Any act of discrimination or racism is completely unacceptable and the Trust is committed to ensuring any issues are addressed.

“We have a bespoke induction programme for international midwives to help them adjust to a new healthcare system and we were pleased to hear in the report that internationally trained staff were complimentary of the support they received from the Trust.”

Liz Lees continued,

“We have also developed a fully tailored culture and development programme for our maternity staff to foster a more inclusive and respectful working environment.”

“To support this programme, we are also currently running staff engagement events that will be attended by over 4,500 colleagues, focusing on increasing awareness and understanding of different cultural backgrounds prevent discriminatory behaviours.”

“It was reassuring that the CQC confirmed that on both sites staff treated women/birthing people with compassion and kindness, provided a service which was inclusive and took account of women’s individual needs and preferences and achieved good outcomes.”

“Whilst we fully recognise there is still work to do in strengthening our services, it is important to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their hard work and commitment during what has been a period of significant challenges.”


Q&As for our women/birthing people

Are the Maternity units at Bedfordshire Hospitals really now classed as ‘Inadequate’?

Yes, the CQC has downgraded the rating of the maternity services at Bedford Hospital and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital to ‘Inadequate’, following their unannounced visits to both Maternity units on the 6 and 7 November 2023.

Immediate action was taken after the visits and the Trust is fully committed to making continued improvements to the service.

Is there a decline in the quality of maternity services at both hospitals run by Bedfordshire Hospitals?

We have noted that outcomes for mothers / birthing people and their babies at both Bedford Hospital and the L&D’s Maternity units remains good. We have seen first-hand the positive feedback from our women / birthing people and their families which solidifies this, and we continue to work on feedback we receive and our user representatives to support this.

Should we be worried about a lack of safe staffing?

Like many other Trusts across the country staff shortages within maternity continues to be a challenge for us but we are pleased to report that our vacancy rate for registered midwives has reduced to 6.6% on the L&D site with now a fully staffed department at Bedford. However, we’re constantly reviewing the number of midwives in the service in order to maintain delivery of safe quality care.

We are really concerned about having our baby at Bedfordshire Hospitals now…

We understand you may have worries but please be assured we are committed to making the necessary improvements to ensure everyone who uses our maternity services continues to receive the high quality care they deserve.

Are we at risk of racism as service users?

Although no concerns were raised from our service users, the inspection report made reference to concerns raised by some of our maternity staff about their experiences of racism from their colleagues.  This was a tough read as any type of discrimination is completely unacceptable, and we remain committed to addressing all points highlighted to us.

Actions have been put in place to develop a programme for staff to foster a more inclusive and respectful working environment, which is part of an ongoing effort to create lasting cultural change within the organisation.

These efforts will contribute positively to the treatment which service users from differing cultural backgrounds receive too.

Has the rating of the overall Trust changed?

The CQC rating of the Trust overall remains unchanged with a rating of ‘Good’.

How can we view the CQC report?

You can view the report on the CQC website – www.cqc.org.uk/provider/RC9


If you have any further questions in relation to this CQC inspection, please email communications@bedsft.nhs.uk