External reviewers find 'immediate quality and safety concerns' in Cwm Taf maternity units

Credit: PA

External reviewers of Cwm Taf health board's maternity services have found "a number of immediate quality and safety concerns."

In a statement, Wales' health minister, Vaughan Gething AM, said that a team of inspectors from Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives went into maternity units at the health board for three days last week, to review services.

Mr Gething said: "The initial findings were reported to the health board and the Welsh Government on Thursday, 17 January, 2019 and the full report will be published in the spring of 2019."

The review aimed to "provide advice on further actions needed to ensure that high quality, safe care is provided to mothers and babies and improve systems of governance and assurance in line with national standards and best practice," the minister said.

Following the discovery of 'immediate concerns' the health minister said: "As a matter of urgency we have agreed a number of actions with the Royal Colleges and Cwm Taf to make immediate improvements to ensure the safety of maternity services. The health board took action before the weekend on some of the issues and we expect them to put other actions in place as a matter of urgency."

Mr Gething added: "I am absolutely committed to ensuring that the review findings provide improvements in service provision as recommended by the review team. I appreciate that this is a very difficult time for staff and I would like to commend them for their hard work."

In a statement, the chief executive of Cwm Taf said the health board is "determined to do everything necessary to deliver a high quality maternity service that provides safe and effective care".

“The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives have now completed their independent review of our maternity services and will publishing their report in due course. Initial verbal feedback has been received and we have responded to this immediately by putting in place a range of actions to address some of the concerns raised.

“These include improved medical rota arrangements; strengthened escalation processes and more support for trainees. We have also brought forward the changes to the admission criteria for the Neonatal Unit in the Royal Glamorgan Hospital from 28 weeks to 32 weeks which were planned to coincide with the move of services to Prince Charles Hospital later this Spring. This brings the current arrangements in line with the rest of Wales.

“We are sincerely sorry for any distress caused to women and their families and we will continue to work with Welsh Government and the Royal Colleges to put in place the required measures to ensure we can deliver the best possible care.

“We understand that these issues may cause concern and anxiety for women and their families and if they would like to contact us, they can phone our contact line on 08000 328999 between 9am-5pm from Monday to Friday. They can also contact Cwm Taf Community Health Council on 01443 405830.”