Maternity Services improve at Bedford Hospital since last inspection was ‘inadequate’

Bedford Hospital (Photo: Dr Robert Oakley)

Improvements to Bedford Hospital’s maternity services have been reported by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) since an inspection in November 2020 rated them ‘inadequate’.

An unannounced follow-up inspection took place on 3 June 2021 and the subsequent report highlighted positive changes.

These include the recruitment of new midwives, consultants, and leaders.

Liz Lees, Chief Nurse at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re pleased the CQC has acknowledged the changes we have already made since the original inspection.”

She said they were “committed to delivering excellent care” and “determined to continue this work and ensure our positive changes made become embedded.”

She added they would “continue to work at pace to deliver further improvements and ensure our maternity service always meets the high standards of care we want to give.”

Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston said he was pleased there had “been some important improvements” and acknowledged these would take some time to “bed-in”.

He said he would support the hospital in any way he could, to bring about change, particularly regarding “chronic midwife shortages”.

However, he said: “The fact remains that maternity services in Bedford still requires improvement, which is worrying, disappointing and distressing for expectant parents in Bedford who should be able to have confidence in the care they receive.”

He has scheduled a meeting with the hospital to discuss these findings.

New staffing includes:

  • 13 newly qualified Midwives starting in September
  • Two new Consultant posts appointed with 2 locum posts currently in the recruitment process
  • 10 new specialist midwifery roles
  • A new Deputy Head of Midwifery

The hospital said the unit consistently receives positive feedback from patients.

These changes do not affect the overall ratings of the hospital or NHS Foundation Trust. These ratings remain as:

  • Bedford Hospital – requires improvement
  • Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – good

Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant Conservative Councillor (Great Barford Ward) also gave her support to the staff and unit.

She was reassured by the work being done and the speed at which changes were being made “to ensure the best quality care for families and babies, and to look after staff”.

She said: “My recent experience with an uncomplicated birth was very positive, although I know anecdotally from other families that more needs to be done particularly with more complicated births and on the post-delivery wards.

“From what I’ve heard these increased staffing levels will make a big difference in those areas. “

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