Publish date: 01 September 2023

The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson maternity service at UCLH has been rated ‘Good’ following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in June 2023.

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The CQC carried out the visit as part of its national maternity inspection programme, which aims to provide an up-to-date view of the quality of hospital maternity care across the country and a better understanding of what is working well to support learning and improvement at a local and national level.

Due to the persistent hard work of our maternity and neonatal teams, the CQC rating of the maternity service for ‘Safe’ improved from ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2018, to ‘Good’ in 2023. Our rating for ‘Well-led’ retained the same rating of ‘Good’, again giving the service an overall rating of ‘Good’.

There were five areas of outstanding practice identified in this report. These included collaboration with UCL to provide a master’s degree in Obstetric Ultrasound, which supported doctors and midwives to develop in their career and had significantly increased the availability of obstetric sonographers in the service, and a positive culture of working towards identifying and reducing health inequalities.

The team impressively responded to issues identified during the inspection, with immediate actions with regards to mandatory training compliance, audit compliance and implementing associated actions in relation to ‘fresh eyes’, interventions when reviewing fetal wellbeing in labour, ensuring that all staff adhere to the uniform policy and daily checks of emergency trollies are more effective.

UCLH chief executive David Probert said:

“We would like to congratulate the whole team on the visit outcome. This is a fantastic achievement for our maternity staff, especially against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, industrial action and the national shortage of midwives.”

Carolyn Jenkinson, CQC’s deputy director of secondary and specialist healthcare, said:

“We found a culture at the trust where staff were working well together for the benefit of the women and people using the service, understood how to protect them from abuse, and managed safety well.”

In May 2023, UCLH received confirmation of full compliance with the NHS Resolution Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts: Maternity Incentive Scheme year 4 from NHS Resolution. This followed an exceptional report following a visit by the Ockenden review team in 2022.

Chyrel Brown, a non-executive director and maternity champion at UCLH, whose role provides an important link between our maternity services and our board, said:

“This is a great achievement for the whole team, and it really shows how the maternity service is listening to the people they serve and always looking for that insight and feedback that will help them to improve. This brilliant teamwork and the commitment to carry on improving really resonates with the UCLH values.”

The CQC will publish the local report today followed by a report of their overall findings of hospital maternity care across the country when they have completed the national inspection programme.