Independent Review into Maternity Services at the Trust
Anthony May, the new Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) Trust describes his commitment to the Independent Review into Maternity Services at the Trust and encourages everyone to share their experiences of working for and being cared for at NUH.
When I started my new job, I shared my plans for my first 100 days as Chief Executive of your local hospitals. A priority of this plan is making improvements in our Maternity Services.
Every year around 8,000 people give birth at our hospitals and in the community. For me, it is important that they all receive good care and have a good experience with us. From my visits to our maternity teams and from the feedback we receive, I can see that is the case for the majority of women and families.
However, it is clear that this is not always the case and we have let down too many women, babies and families. We have caused unacceptable distress and pain due to our failings and for that I offer my unreserved apologies.
As I start my new job at NUH, I am determined to make the necessary improvements to our Maternity Services. We have made many improvements already as part of the ongoing Maternity Improvement Programme but we must do more. Importantly, our staff are fully behind these plans to improve and have reassured me of their commitment and determination to continue with the necessary improvements. For my part, I have promised these hard working colleagues the very best support we can provide, as they undertake their demanding and important roles. We have established a dedicated Maternity Oversight Committee, led by one of our Non-Executive Directors, to scrutinise our Improvement Plan, and I will be taking regular reports to the Trust Board, so that the public can monitor our progress.
At the same time, I am committed to working with Donna Ockenden and her Independent Review Team. We are in contact with Donna and I have given a personal commitment to engage fully and openly with the Review. I see the Review as a very important opportunity for all of us involved in providing maternity services but it is particularly important for the affected women and families. I will do all I can to support the Review and my door is open to any woman or family who wants to share their story and concerns with me.
Donna Ockenden has made a public appeal to anyone who has received maternity care at our hospitals, or who know of loved ones who have received care, to speak to her team and share their experiences. I join with Donna in calling for people to engage with this process, including current and former staff at NUH. It is by sharing experiences of being cared for here and working here, that we can make the necessary and lasting improvements to our maternity services. You can contact Donna’s team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For many women and families accessing our services right now, this is an unsettling time. While the Review is ongoing, I want you to know that it will not impact your day-to-day levels of care. Local women and families can be confident that the teams responsible for you are totally committed to providing the safest and best experience possible. Please talk to your midwife or consultant about any concerns you may have. In the past few weeks, I have met many of these colleagues and they stand by, ready to help and offer reassurance and advice.
Importantly, we are not waiting for the Review to conclude and our staff have been working hard to make the necessary improvements now. This includes recruiting more midwives and doctors, investing in new equipment, implementing a maternity advice line so people have a single point of contact before and after birth and improving the training for midwives and doctors in the monitoring of pregnant people and babies. There is, of course, more to do and we must now ensure that these improvements continue at pace.
I commit to do my very best to deliver better services now and in the future, and you can be assured that we will work with Donna Ockenden and her team to help us do that.