NHS hospital trust under investigation over baby deaths

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England‘s care watchdog has carried out a no-notice inspection of an National Health Service (NHS) trust at the centre of concerns over the possible preventable deaths of babies. BBC News reports that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is investigating East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust but has not yet decided whether to prosecute. At least seven preventable baby deaths may have occurred at the trust since 2016, the report says an investigation found.

Ted Baker, chief inspector for hospitals at the commission said: “CQC’s 2016 inspection rated maternity services at East Kent NHS Foundation Trust as ‘requires improvement’, identifying that staffing levels were impacting on the quality of patient care. That rating remained unchanged at our 2018 inspection, during which it was noted that the department had changed its approach to foetal monitoring training after concerns were identified. The trust remains subject to close monitoring and further inspections. We conducted an unannounced inspection of the trust’s maternity services and we will publish the findings of this inspection as soon as we are able to.”

He said the CQC’s investigation was ongoing and no decision had yet been taken on whether to prosecute the trust for a failure to provide safe care or treatment, resulting in avoidable harm or a significant risk of avoidable harm.

According to the report, the trust has said it made “significant changes” to its maternity service, but it recognised that the scale of change required has not taken place quickly enough. The trust said it is recruiting more doctors and will be working with the NHS Maternity Support Programme.

Full BBC News report

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