Ipswich MP calls for urgent action after hospital maternity report

Four wards at Ipwich Hospital are now closed to new admissions due to a coronavirus outbreak Pictur

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has called for urgent action following the Care Quality Commission report - Credit: Archant

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has called for urgent action at the town's hospital following a disappointing report into its maternity services.

Maternity services at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, both run by the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), were found to require improvement after recent inspections by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Concerns over staff shortages were raised at both hospitals, while morale was said to be low due to a lack of oversight with the trust's board and leadership teams – leaving them to not always feel respected, supported and valued.

Some staff at Ipswich Hospital were also identified as not having sufficient training, qualifications or skills to keep women safe from avoidable harm – while concerns were raised that staff in Colchester were not always compliant with important training regarding sepsis and safeguarding.

Staff were said to support each other well however, and to be focused on being providing the best care possible to their patients.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt praised hospital staff for their hard work in difficult circumstances - Credit: PAUL GEATER

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said he was "very concerned" by the report's findings, and that he will be asking the trust to rectify the issues raised "urgently".

Mr Hunt said: “I am very concerned to hear about this development with our local hospital’s maternity services.

"It is clear that the nurses and midwives at Ipswich Hospital have worked hard to give the best possible care to patients this year, but there needs to be serious conversations taking place at the upper management level.

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"I will be contacting the trust’s board and leadership team to ask them to set out a plan to rectify the situation for my constituents urgently.”

Ipswich and Colchester hospitals are due to merge in July. Picture: ARCHANT

Both Ipswich and Colchester hospitals' maternity services were found to "require improvement" - Credit: Archant

Work to bolster staffing at the hospitals is underway, with 30 midwives set to be joining the trust in the coming months.

Helen Maw, the Royal College of Nursing's senior officer for Suffolk and North Essex, said addressing the staffing issue will be "vital" in improving the services.

She said: “Having enough staff to provide safe and effective care to patients is fundamental to the health services we all rely upon.

“Not having the right staff in the right place at the right time significantly impacts on the delivery of care and we know that nursing staff often feel they are not providing the care they would like to give due to the volume of work and staffing shortages.

“It is welcome to see that staffing is being dealt with as a main concern and a priority area for improvement by the trust. This will be vital in addressing the concerns raised in this report.

“It will also be important in tackling low morale and burnout among the current nursing staff, which we know is a major problem across our region after the challenging year the staff have experienced.”

Colchester MP Will Quince was unavailable to comment on the findings at Colchester Hospital. Dr Dan Poulter's office was also approached for comment, as was the Royal College of Midwives.

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