Clare Panniker presented the report that updated Members on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection of the maternity services at Basildon University Hospital.
The Chair thanked Clare Panniker for attending this evening and was well aware of the amount of scrutiny that the maternity department were currently under and appreciated all the work that had been undertaken.
Councillor Muldowney welcomed the update report where it was evident that progress had been made, the report had answered a lot of the questions raised and was more about the voice of the patient who were actually using the service. Councillor Muldowney asked for further information on what the staff feedback had been on the 1-2-1 training of each band 7 as to how they would own their own incidents and how they closed them down. Clare Panniker stated there were high volume of incidents reported on a daily basis, some minor and some more serious, as staff were encouraged to report incidents. Not only for when things had gone wrong but for incidents such as a piece of equipment missing or if breaks were not taken. For this to be a learning and growing service there was a need for people who were running the labour ward on a daily basis to be review incidents and to make sure that the appropriate action was taken with feedback being provided back to staff members who raised those incidents. That any incidents of a serious nature would be escalated to the daily executive led review group to be properly and thoroughly investigated.
Councillor Muldowney questioned whether staff were happy with this as they would be getting more rapid feedback and rapid action from incidents raised. Councillor Muldowney touched on recruitment and what was being done to recruit more midwives. Clare Panniker stated that all the student midwives who qualified in September had stayed with the unit which had demonstrated they had felt they had a good supported experience. That a campaign approach was being undertaken to make the offer more attractive and more systematic. That head-hunters for the post of director of midwifery was being used to try and find the right person. Councillor Muldowney stated it was good to see that progress had been made and suggested that this item be returned to committee in about six months’ time for further updates.
Councillor Redsell thanked Clare Panniker for the update on recruitment and questioned what the hospital was doing within this COVID situation and what were the maternity ward doing to help mums have home births. Clare Panniker stated the demand for home births was relatively low but was able to facilitate this for those who wanted a home birth. There was a home birth team but at this time was not seen as a high priority as from a staffing prospective the high risk area had been the labour ward.
Councillor Ralph agreed that this item should be added to the 2021/22 work programme to be returned in the next six months.
Councillor Ralph referred to the red flag reporting. Clare Panniker stated that there was currently less of those being reported which was due to the training that had been undertaken in the summer in terms of monitoring of women in labour, known as CTG training which had impacted on the early recognition of any complications during childbirth which had led to less incidents occurring. There had also been a change to the safety culture. Councillor Ralph questioned whether the maternity unit were facing more restraints on the care services that were being offered due to COVID. Clare Panniker stated the challenge had been around visitors, there had been problems of not allowing partners to attend but with the introduction of testing for visitors onto the maternity unit had been a big plus to allow women to now be better supported during ultrasound visits, outpatient appointments and delivery. Clare Panniker stated that COVID had been very significant to the whole organisation but less so in the maternity unity where infectious levels had been much lower than in other areas. Councillor Ralph questioned whether the maternity unit had been affected by staff shortages due to COVID to which Clare Panniker was unable to specifically say how many midwifery staff were off work but in January 2021 there were 1000 staff missing from across the entirety of the trust.
The Chair thanked Clare Panniker for attending this evening.
An update report will be added to the work programme for 2021/22.
At 7.32pm, Claire Panniker left the meeting.