Trust defends maternity services

A HEALTHCARE watchdog has given our hospitals the lowest ranking possible for maternity services. But bosses at The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust have said the Healthcare Commission s findings are inaccurate due to incomplete data being sent by t

A HEALTHCARE watchdog has given our hospitals the lowest ranking possible for maternity services.

But bosses at The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust have said the Healthcare Commission's findings are inaccurate due to incomplete data being sent by the Trust.

In a national review of maternity services, the Trust was branded 'least well performing', using 25 indicators which included staffing levels and the number of times a mother has contact with a midwife after going home.

The review drew on a survey of mothers as well as data collected from the Trust.

The Trust scored one - the lowest possible score - for both the extent staff are trained in core maternity skills and the delivery of hospital-based antenatal care.

The Trust failed to achieve five - the highest possible score - for any of the 25 indicators.

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Women's view of cleanliness of the delivery and postnatal areas gave the Trust a score of two, and staffing levels, support for infant feeding and postnatal care of women and babies were also given a score of two.

The overall average score for the Trust was 2.375 out of a possible five which gives them their 'least well performing' ranking.

The Trust's chief executive Nick Carver said: "While we accept we got it wrong when we sent the original data, it is disappointing inaccurate data has been published. We have two good maternity units.

"I'm sorry for any concern caused to women due to come in to have their babies. I would like to reassure them they and their babies will receive good quality care at the Trust."

About 'least well performing' Trusts, the Commission said: "There is evidence they lag behind in a range of key areas and need to improve. It does not mean the Trust is providing care that is unsafe."

The Trust must now produce an action plan which the Commission will check.

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