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West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds await maternity inspection results

West Suffolk Hospital’s leadership are pleased with findings from a snap inspection of their maternity ward, despite concerns.

The Care Quality Commission arrived unannounced in Bury St Edmunds earlier this month to analyse performance and praised several areas of work.

The watchdog, however, raised concerns about the hospital’s potential response to baby abduction, removing women from a birthing pool in emergency, staffing levels, and the programme of leadership and succession planning.

Chief executive Steve Dunn at West Suffolk Hospital
Chief executive Steve Dunn at West Suffolk Hospital

The commission visits the hospital from time to time to monitor progress. Inspectors judged the trust to ‘require improvement’ in January last year after a visit.

Dr Steve Dunn, chief executive, raised the issue in a board meeting this morning.

He said in his report: “The (maternity) inspection went well and the team recognised the progress we are making.

“Overall, we are pleased with how the inspection went and the number of positive improvements they picked up.”

He added that a draft inspection report would be sent soon, which may raise further issues. At that point a result will be clarified.

Dr Dunn also reported there are currently no patients in the trust who are positive for Covid-19. He is wary, however, that Ipswich Hospital does have cases.

“We are not out of the woods despite significant progress,” he said in the virtual meeting.

“What we are observing internationally with trends in India, Brazil, and the Philippines goes to show that we must not be complacent.

“We have many colleagues from these places and it is important to support and acknowledge them. They could be working in difficult scenarios.”

It was also raised at the meeting that the second phase of the trust’s vaccination programme has now been completed.

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