Cwm Tag Health Board Hospitals Maternity Review Published

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Photo of hands holding a babys feet

A review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) into standards of maternity care at the Prince Charles and Royal Glamorgan hospitals has led to Cwm Tag Morgannwg Health Board, which provides the services, being placed into special measures.

The review, which praises the work of front-line staff but is highly critical of management and governance functions within the board, was instigated when concerns about the quality of 43  serious incident investigations into baby deaths within the maternity units were raised. These cases involve 20 stillbirths and six neonatal deaths that occurred between 2016 and 2018.

The review identifies 11 areas of immediate concern within the maternity services being offered by the Trust and eight more which are not as time-sensitive. The reviewers have recommended that a further investigation into infant related serious incidents be carried out, this time going as far back as 2010.

What are the areas of concern within Cwm Tag Morgannwg Health Board maternity services?

Many of the concerns relate to staffing levels within the Prince Charles and Royal Glamorgan hospitals, which are both based in the South Wales Valleys. Consultant cover is criticised both in and out of hours and support for trainee and middle grade doctors is described as “inadequate”. The review also flags the lack of an induction programme for locum staff, which is used across all grades and specialisms.

Other concerns include the lack of a functioning governance system, a lack of awareness around guidelines and protocols and a punitive culture for staff.

Doctors not listening to mothers

A core part of the RCOG review involved speaking to women who had experience of the maternity care on offer at the Trust. While some good practice was identified, unfortunately many women who had experienced maternity care from the Trust reported the same issue – they felt that they weren’t being listened to by midwives, doctors and consultants and that their concerns were not taken seriously.

Problems with hospital data

The review team’s assessors mention several times within the review that they experienced difficulty with obtaining usable data from the Health Board, which in turn made it more difficult to grade performance against national standards. Information provided to national surveys, such as the MBRRACE enquiry into maternal deaths in the UK, was not validated before submission and could therefore have contributed to inaccurate results.

What will happen next at Cwm Tag Morgannwg Health Board maternity services?

Now that the Welsh Government has placed the Trust into special measures, it is to be overseen by an independent panel which will drive the necessary improvements to services. The panel will be led by ex-Gwent chief constable Mick Giannasi.

What should I do if I think I have received negligent maternity care?

Our team of expert maternity and obstetric care solicitors are here to help. Click here to contact us now.