Three Manchester Hospitals told to make 'rapid improvements' after inspection of maternity services

Wythenshawe Hospital was one of three told to make 'rapid improvements' in maternity care Credit: ITV News

Maternity services at three Manchester Hospitals have been rated as needing improvement by inspectors.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has taken enforcement action against St Marys Hospital, Wythenshawe Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital, saying they must make rapid improvements.

One of the issues raised was delays in people having elective caesarean sections and induction of labour, it was said that must be addressed as a priority to protect people  and babies from coming to harm at such a vulnerable  time.

An action plan has been put in place by the Trust 'so people and their babies can receive safe and appropriate care'

Inspectors looked at the areas that are safe and well-led in the maternity services.

Following the inspection:

St Mary’s Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital

  • The overall rating at both hospitals for maternity services went from good to requires improvement.

  • Well-led has also declined from good to requires improvement.

  • The rating for safe has dropped down from good to inadequate.

North Manchester General Hospital Credit: ITV News

North Manchester General Hospital

  • Maternity services have been rated requires improvement overall and for being well-led.

  • It has been rated inadequate for being safe.

  • This is the first time maternity services at this hospital have been inspected and rated since the trust acquired the service from Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in April 2021.

Carolyn Jenkinson, deputy director of secondary and specialist healthcare, said:

"When we inspected maternity services at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, it was disappointing to see a deterioration in the level of care being provided to women, people using the service and their babies.

"Due to our concerns, we issued the trust with a warning notice requiring them to make rapid improvements.

"We found leaders had the skills and abilities to run maternity services and understood the issues they faced. However, they didn’t consistently address them in a timely way to ensure people were receiving safe care.

"Across all three hospitals, we were concerned that people weren’t assessed in a timely way. Opportunities to prevent or minimise harm to people were missed as all three maternity services didn’t have an effective and timely triage process in place to keep people safe.

"However, we did find some outstanding practice. For example, at Saint Mary’s Hospital, high dependency nurses provided care and treatment to people who required high dependency care alongside midwives, in four enhanced maternal care rooms.

"Since the inspection the trust have developed an action plan and started to make improvements. We will continue to monitor it closely, including through future inspections, to ensure they have been made and embedded, so people and their babies can receive safe and appropriate care. If this is not happening, we will not hesitate to take further action."

The overall rating for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust remains good.

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said:

"We have confidence in our ability to improve maternity services for women and their families and have embarked on a focused programme of improvements.

Since the inspection in March, improvements include:

  • Reducing waiting times in triage.

  • Investing in staff to increase the number of operating lists available.

  • Providing additional staff in key areas of the service.

  • Increasing numbers of senior doctors available during peak times.

  • Launching a wide-reaching recruitment campaign.