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March 3, 2023

Improvements to maternity services well underway following CQC inspection

A number of improvements to Bolton NHS Foundation Trust’s maternity services are well underway following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The recent inspection by the CQC in November 2022, as part of their national maternity services inspection programme, highlighted some challenges and rated Royal Bolton Hospital’s maternity services as ‘requires improvement’.

Inspection teams lowered the rating from ‘good’ due to challenges including staffing, compliance of mandatory training in key skills, management of incidents and consistency in completing checks on some equipment.

However, the CQC also recognised areas of outstanding practice, including a “highly skilled staff team”, effective coordination and planning of people’s care on the antenatal ward, and commented on how the design, layout and staffing of the triage ward supported excellent patient flow while reducing the risk of overcrowding.

The report also praised leaders and staff for actively and openly engaging with women and birthing people, staff, equality groups, the public and local organisations to help plan and manage the services the trust provides.

Tyrone Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said:

Our priority will always be the safety of our patients and ensuring that we consistently deliver the high-quality care our communities expect and deserve.

“It’s been a difficult couple of years, and like other NHS organisations we are experiencing challenges when it comes to addressing workforce gaps in maternity services.

“The CQC highlights the areas we already knew needed improving and this will enable us to accelerate our plans. The report acknowledges the scale of the improvement work we are doing and the changes we have already made and our focus now is to truly embed them across our service and sustain them.

“We have a new leadership team who all share the same exciting vision and commitment to make the changes needed to create an outstanding service.

“Our maternity services provide vital support to thousands of families every year and we are already on an improvement journey to make sure that we are providing the very best care, to everyone.

“The outcome of the report is a fair and balanced reflection of the challenges we face, and I have every faith that the team we have in place will make sure that we overcome them.

Transforming the workforce

With skills and staffing shortages being an ongoing challenge for many NHS organisations, the Trust is already working at pace to transform and futureproof its workforce with a number of initiatives, including:

  • Providing placements for student midwives
  • Developing career plans for midwifery roles from bands 2 to 8
  • Retaining our current workforce by making culture, leadership and accountability a key focus

The Trust has also welcomed more than 160 international nurses and is looking to use that success as it explores the potential to recruit International Midwives, including International Neonatal Nurses.

Caring For You charter

Last month, Bolton’s maternity services committed to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Caring For You charter in order to create the best working environment possible.

The charter aims to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of midwives at work so that they are able to provide safe and high-quality maternity care for women, babies and their families.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust’s maternity services provides care to the populations of Bolton, Wigan, Bury and Salford, with Royal Bolton Hospital helping to deliver approximately 5,500 babies each year.

The overall rating for Royal Bolton Hospital remains rated as good.

The full report can be viewed here on the CQC’s website.

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