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Concerns raised regarding maternity services at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust

By Jack Fox

After a series of short notice inspections in August 2023, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has produced detailed reports rating the maternity services at the Royal Derby Hospital and Queen's Hospital in Burton-Upon-Trent, which come under the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, as ‘inadequate’.    

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This is a downgrade of the safety rating from “good” which will understandably cause concern to many people in the local area, particularly as the reports state that patients were being put at a real risk of harm due to failing to meet safety standards.     

Key findings in the report included:

  • Staff were faced with overwhelming workloads.  
  • Staff shortages. There were not enough midwifery staff to ensure the safety of women and their babies with reduced staffing levels impacting on delays to induction of labour.  
  • Incidents were not always investigated appropriately or at all, resulting in missed opportunities to learn from those incidents.   
  • Staff were not adequately trained. Staff also did not always receive a yearly appraisal to ensure they were competent for their roles.
  • Staff did not always complete risk assessments in order to remove or minimise risks.
  • There was no stable leadership team, with high unplanned turnover and/or vacancies, meaning leaders could not lead effectively.
  • Their own internal protocols did not align with current national guidelines.
  • There were failures to assess risks in relation to foetal monitoring and post-partum haemorrhage.
  • There was a lack of suitable equipment. For example, there was limited thermometers, needed to monitor new-born babies’ temperatures. There were software malfunctions with the equipment used to monitor cardiotocography (CTG).

 An urgent warning notice has been issued to the Trust by the CQC instructing them that significant and immediate improvements are needed.

The CQC will continue to closely monitor both hospitals.  

Switalskis act for many families who have been impacted by negligent maternity care. It seems clear that the Trust needs to urgently take action to ensure changes are implemented to reinstate patient safety.     

These findings are unacceptable and particularly disappointing given very similar issues were recently raised in relation to neighbouring University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in September.  

If you have been affected by treatment provided by University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, or any other healthcare provider, please get in touch so that we can start to support you.

If you have been affected, contact our specialist medical negligence lawyers on 0800 138 0458 or email:

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Jack qualified as a Solicitor in 2019. He’s a member of our Medical Negligence team.


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