Sunday, 24 August 2014

Women giving birth in west London hospitals ‘face poor care and potential risks’

'Potential risks': a warning was issued about “inadequate” maternity care in west London (Picture: Photodisc/Getty Images)

A warning was issued today about “inadequate” maternity care in west London — ahead of services coming under further pressure with the axing of a busy unit.
Hospital inspectors said women giving birth at Northwick Park hospital, in Harrow, could not always summon help and the slow “pace of change” created “potential risks”. Caring was rated inadequate while the department, responsible for 5,600 births a year, “requires improvement” overall.

The Care Quality Commission’s report comes amid concerns at the wider impact of closing the maternity unit at Ealing hospital next summer. Most of its 2,800 births are expected to be split between Northwick Park and West Middlesex, in Hounslow, though emergency and complex cases will transfer to St Mary’s in Paddington.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said senior staff had to be empowered to make changes in maternity and the A&E at Northwick Park, the biggest of three hospitals within North West London NHS trust.

Women told the CQC and reported in surveys that care fell below expectations. The environment and equipment on paediatric wards also needed to be improved, inspectors said after their announced visit in May.

Updated: 13:10, 20 August 2014

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