In September 2022, Donna Ockenden began her independent review of maternity services at our hospitals.
As part of the review process, Donna and her team share key findings with us and NHS England on a quarterly basis. This feedback supports the continuous learning and improvement of maternity care at NUH and is included into our existing maternity improvement programme.
At a meeting held on 14 April, Donna and her team met with Chief Executive Anthony May, Chief Nurse Michelle Rhodes and Medical Director Dr Keith Girling, where she provided feedback that:
- Local families, who may be ‘hard to reach’, do not always feel heard and there is a lack of continuity with information sharing, particularly in Urdu clinics.
- Concerns have been relayed from some maternity staff about a proposal to change the length of clinic time accompanied by an Urdu language interpreter.
- Women have raised a lack of availability of interpreting services within the Trust. There have been some issues with telephone provision for interpretation.
- The review team have been advised that there is no written information in Urdu.
- Local women have reported instances of male sonographers being allocated to the care of Muslim women. There have been incidences where female sonographers have not been available.
Donna followed up in writing with a letter addressed to Chief Executive Anthony May on 20 April. You can read the letter here - Letter to Anthony May. 372KB
Michelle Rhodes, Chief Nurse, said: “We know more must be done to ensure the voices of women from all the communities we serve are heard, and we welcome feedback from Donna Ockenden and her team.
“Women and families can be assured that the feedback and learning that is shared with us throughout the review is used to make improvements to our maternity services immediately.”
A new taskforce of midwives, doctors, researchers, advocates and representatives from Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and families is working to immediately address areas highlighted by Donna Ockenden to ensure equality of opportunities, and inclusive and responsive services for all women and families. This includes:
- The length of clinic times which use interpreters in the community will not change.
- Information available for women on our website, including leaflets are accessible and available in different languages.
- Letters inviting women for scans now include the choice of a female sonographer if preferred.
- Addressing health inequalities as a system across the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS), including access to cultural competency training.
- Reviewing data on clinical outcomes through a health inequalities lens to provide more focused improvement actions.
- In the coming weeks our midwives, led by our Director of Midwifery, will be working with community groups across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, to listen to their experiences and use this additional feedback to make improvements wherever we possibly can.
Michelle added: “We want to reassure women and families using our services that the teams caring for them are totally committed to providing the safest and best experience possible and are available to answer any questions they might have.
“We continue to encourage people who have significant or serious concerns about their maternity care to contact the review team. We are also encouraging current and former staff who work directly in or closely with our maternity services, to come forward and engage with the review.”
Further information about the review can be found here.