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James Paget Hospital gives update on work since ‘inadequate’ maternity rating

A hospital has given an update on its work since receiving an ‘inadequate’ maternity rating.

Representatives from Norfolk’s James Paget Hospital presented an update to members of the county council’s overview and scrutiny committee yesterday outlining the progress since the maternity services received an ‘inadequate’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The report, published in May of last year, found issues relating to safety, with midwifery staff not always completing mandatory training, and leadership, stating leaders did not always have the skills to run the service.

The main entrance to the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Picture: Google
The main entrance to the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Picture: Google

Following the inspection, the CQC issued a warning notice stressing the need for significant improvements.

The report said: “We took this action as we believed a person would or may be exposed to the risk of harm if we had not done so.”

Yesterday’s report outlined the work done across four metrics: governance and oversight, staffing, service culture, and high dependency and enhanced maternal care.

Some of the work already completed included a £1.4 million investment into staff, with the service now having no vacancies, the setting up of new roles, boosting mandatory training compliance, and open forums for staff to share their worries.

Paul Morris, the chief nurse at the hospital, said the action plan, which followed guidance from both the CQC and the 2022 Ockenden report, would ensure maternity services would be effective even in areas with large deprivation and a variety of needs.

He added: “To have any regulatory body to deem your service inadequate is extremely hard on the staff and they have been absolutely fantastic in response.

“The plan will take us, over the next few years, from reacting to those immediate concerns to ensuring those firm foundations are laid to enable us to build upon a highly effective maternity department.”

Also outlined in the report was an improvement in the reporting of incidents, with an increase from 30 per month in 2022, to 65 last year. At the same time, the service has averaged one complaint a month and seen an increase in compliments.

Tricia D’Orsi, the executive director of nursing at NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said a lot of work had gone into improving the culture within the maternity, a significant issue in hospitals across the country.

She added: “There were no surprises in this report — [the trust] knew what the problems were and had plans in place to address them but we are where we are.

“They are addressing the concerns of the CQC, they are not just ticking a box, they are making excellent progress.”