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In Safe Hands - Maternity Amongst UK's Safest

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Women having babies at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT) are provided with the safest care available, according to a recent independent assessment.

The Maternity Unit at Leighton Hospital in Crewe recently underwent the thorough review and achieved the highest rating provided by the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST). 

Pam Cornwall, Head of Midwifery at the Trust, said: “I am delighted that we have been awarded CNST Level 3, as it recognises that our patients are receiving an extremely high level of care.

“The rise to becoming a Level 3 Unit is a meteoric achievement, as a progression usually takes at least three years per level. However, we achieved Level 1 status in December 2010, Level 2 in March 2012, and now we have the highest available.

“I am extremely proud of the team that we have here at the Trust. It has been a mammoth journey and each and every team member has played their part in this success. They are amongst the most experienced and dedicated staff that I have ever worked with, and combined with our brand new facilities, I am thrilled that we can now say that the care provided here is officially amongst the safest in the country.”

Maternity - MLU View 3
One of the new Midwifery-Led Unit rooms, with bed, birthing pool and birthing ball

The Maternity Unit at Leighton Hospital has undergone a thorough refurbishment over recent years. The hospital now boasts a purpose-built Midwifery-Led Unit attached to the main Labour Ward, with birthing pools, ambient mood lighting, en-suite facilities and a private courtyard accessible from each room. A new high-dependency area was also created for women who require more intensive specialised care during labour, further increasing the safety of their care.

Pam added: “Whilst we’ve significantly improved the facilities located at Leighton Hospital, we can now offer so much more to women and their families.

“We have a thorough parent education schedule, which is free and available to everybody who chooses to give birth with us. Run by a dedicated team of experienced Midwives, the classes provide all of the necessary information and practical skills to prepare women and their birth partners for labour and birth, in order to make the process as easy and safe as possible.

“We can offer women the choice of how and where they wish to give birth, ranging from a pool birth through to fully supervised labour in our Labour Ward.  For those who wish to give birth at home, we have a team of devoted Community Midwives who can make this a safe and realistic option for many women.”

The final areas of the Maternity Unit to receive an upgrade are the Postnatal Ward and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Work is well underway on these areas and they are set to treat their first patients in summer 2014.

In December, the Trust also scored highly in a national Care Quality Commission (CQC) patient survey of women’s experience of maternity care, scoring a total of 9.1 out of 10 – just 0.3 points off the highest score nationally – for the labour and birth elements of pregnancy.

Emma Sanders with son Harry and Staff Nurse Jayne Harris
Emma Sanders with son Harry and Staff Nurse Jayne Harris

Emma Sanders has recently spent time in the majority of areas within the Maternity Unit during her pregnancy with son Harry, who is currently receiving treatment on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She commented: “Throughout my whole experience, the care has been exemplary.

“From the Midwives and Doctors to the cleaners and other ward staff, everyone was brilliant with me, always responding quickly and efficiently to my ever-changing health situation.

“I was too ill to see Harry for a few days and the Midwives were brilliant at keeping me in touch with what was happening, constantly providing me with updates and even photographs – this meant so much to me.

“I honestly don’t feel that Harry would be with us now if it wasn’t for the care that we both received.  He has had the very best treatment and is in the safest of hands. I am so grateful for all the excellent care from everyone we have come into contact with.”

For further information the Maternity services available at MCHFT, including video tours, please visit www.mcht.nhs.uk/maternity.

Additional Information

The Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) is a scheme run by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) which receives annual premiums from all NHS Trusts in the country to cover hospital legal proceedings. By meeting the risk management standards set out in the CNST, Trusts are able to reduce their premium as a result of providing improved care and safety quality for mothers and babies.

All hospitals with maternity services are assessed for the CNST. The process involves the examination of performance, practices and policies of five standards, each containing ten criteria. During the evaluation process, assessors undertake live spot checks on aspects such as patients’ health records, with a score awarded if the monitoring has identified a minimum of 75% compliance in each of the requirements.

The CNST report received by the Trust following the assessment states: “MCHFT is to be congratulated for successfully demonstrating compliance with the Level 3 requirements of the CNST Maternity Clinical Risk Management Standards 2013/14.

“It is clear than an enormous amount of hard work and dedication has gone into not only preparing for the assessment but also into embedding and monitoring risk management systems across the whole maternity service, and this is reflected in the well-deserved and very high score. There is a committed team with the determination to develop and maintain these standards.”