William Harvey Hospital entrance

Statement from our chief executive in response to the CQC report

Tracey Fletcher, Chief Executive, East Kent Hospitals, said:

I am sorry that despite the commitment and hard work of our staff, when they inspected in January, the CQC found that the Trust was not consistently providing the standards of maternity care women and families should expect.

We acted at once to respond to the CQC’s immediate safety concerns. We have:

  • Increased doctor staffing in the triage service at William Harvey Hospital, which has improved the time within which women are seen by a doctor

  • Made immediate changes to ensure better access to and regular checking of emergency equipment.

  • Introduced electronic alerts for staff when a fetal monitoring check is due and ensured all staff have completed fetal monitoring training

  • Appointed a new dedicated fetal heart monitoring midwife who works alongside our clinical teams to ensure safe monitoring is consistently completed

  • We have increased cleaning of the environment and the equipment and this is monitored daily, alongside hand hygiene and PPE compliance.

We are committed to giving both the women and families using our service and the CQC confidence in the quality and safety of our care.

Our staff are determined to improve our services for patients. The CQC reports recognise the compassion and kindness they have shown to women and families and the outstanding practice of the service in proactively listening to and seeking feedback from every person who gives birth with us about what we can improve. To date, we have spoken with more than 3,600 families, and have received positive feedback of our service as well as areas we need to improve. We are making changes from what they tell us, such as improving facilities for partners and improving choice of pain relief options. Ninety per cent of these families said they were positive about their care but we will continue to listen to families and act so all families can have greater confidence in our services.    

We recognise that, despite the changes that have been made to the service so far, there is a lot more to do to ensure we are consistently providing high standards of care for every family, every time.

We are continuing to work hard to improve the culture and multi-professional teamworking highlighted by Dr Bill Kirkup through the independent investigation into our maternity services, including implementing ‘civility saves lives’ staff training. I am grateful to the families who are helping us as we seek to make these improvements and to our staff, for their commitment.

The reports will be published on the CQC website.