MK Maternity out of special measures

6 October 2010, 05:55 | Updated: 6 October 2010, 06:16

Milton Keynes hospital has now cleared special measures after the Care Quality Commission stepped in last year.

The CQC demanded the extra measures last December, after the death of two babies, in 2007 and 2009.

But now, The Commission has lifted some of the conditions which had been imposed on Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust - because it was not meeting four essential standards of quality and safety.  

Hospital managers were required to make a series of improvements within strict deadlines.

Among conditions which have been met - is one requiring that all women in established labour should receive one-to-one care from a registered midwife.

Those conditions are lifted from today, but the hospital are keeping them on.

Tony Halton - Director of Nursing Director of Nursing told heart "We've allocated that resource permanently, for that team to do that, because it is the right thing to do.

We want to continue to do that. Mums and families must and should have every confidence in the Maternity Services when they come here".

CQC inspectors say they are satisfied that the trust can demonstrate that it is compliant with the following conditions which are being lifted:

• A revised action plan must be produced to address a number of outstanding recommendations made by the Healthcare Commission in 2008 - and then implement and monitor it.
• The trust must have systems in place which allow midwives to assess and monitor the quality of service provided by the maternity department to all mothers.
• The trust must, in its' audits, include incidents and complaints.
• The trust must ensure that detailed information on serious incidents and identified risks are reported, and action is taken.
• The trust must have clinical governance systems to assess and monitor the quality of service.
• All midwives recruited since 1 January 2010 must have received comprehensive training in local policies and procedures, escalation procedures and in promoting normal births.
• The trust must review and responded to the recommendations over medical training experience of trainees.

The following conditions will remain in place until CQC is satisfied that the full effect of changes has been assessed.

• The trust must have appropriate systems to detect and monitor ‘at risk’ mothers and babies to ensure suitable care is provided at all times.
• The trust must have appropriate maternity risk management plans in place and in use by staff.
• The trust must have enough senior midwives and obstetrician cover to cope with demand.

Roxy Boyce, Regional Director for the Care Quality Commission in the South East told heart, the regulators had longstanding concerns about the quality of maternity services, level of staffing, and whether the maternity unit could cope with unscheduled surges in demand.

She said: "While the trust has recently recruited more midwives, we recognise that this is a continuing challenge in Milton Keynes, and must remain a high priority for some time to come. 

However Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has now made a concerted effort to address concerns which have been overshadowing its maternity services and damaging the trust's standing with the local population.

Childbirth is a stressful time for mothers - they, and their families, need to have confidence that they are in the best place when the time comes.

In the past the maternity unit at Milton Keynes showed that it couldn't cope with a sudden rise in demand.  It is now better placed to demonstrate that it has developed a robust system to respond and to ensure that even at the busiest times, every mother receives the care she needs.    We still want to see good evidence of that.  

But we must be clear: while we have decided to relax the legal condition which insists on one registered midwife for every woman in the established stages of labour, every woman is entitled to high standards of supportive care during labour and we will still expect the Trust to observe best practice in this."   

The CQC told heart they will continue to monitor the performance of the Trust and would be prepared to take further action if it became necessary.