Maternity services at Basildon University Hospital have been rated as "inadequate" following six serious incidents.
A surprise inspection by the The Care Quality Commission was carried out in June after safety concerns were raised by a whistleblower.
It found babies were born in a poor condition in March and April and then transferred for cooling therapy, which can be offered to newborn babies with brain injury caused by oxygen shortage during birth.
The department was previously rated as "requires Improvement", following an inspection in February 2019.But concerns were raised after high risk women were giving birth in a low risk area and a lack of staff with relevant skills to keep women safe and provide the right care and treatment.
The department was previously rated as "requires Improvement", following an inspection in February 2019.
While inspectors found some areas of good practice, they also found a number of significant improvements were needed. We have issued a warning notice requiring the trust to make urgent improvements to ensure mothers and babies are safe. The leadership team is clear about the steps they need to take and we will continue to monitor progress closely.
The Chief Executive of Mid and South Essex Foundation Trust, Clare Panniker, has apologised for not making improvements "quickly enough".
“It is so important that mums feel safe when they come to us to have their babies, and thatour staff feel supported to deliver the very best care", she said.
"These are the two areas we’ve been focusing on and have taken urgent and significant action to address.
"We know that our services are safe to use, but I’m sorry that we didn’t make improvements quickly enough. Our dedicated staff had already begun to make changes before the CQC visited us – and the report recognises that a raft of improvements had been put in place.
“We have a new leadership team, invested £1.8million in recruiting 29 more midwives andtwo additional consultants, opened three more delivery beds for high risk women, andcreated a triage service."