Internal and external investigations into Homerton Hospital’s maternity unit have been ordered following concerns raised by an anonymous group of midwives.
City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group has ordered a review after it was contacted by a group who call themselves “the unhappy midwives”. According to The Nursing Times, the group has raised a number of serious incidents, including those involving the “avoidable deaths of mothers and babies in our maternity unit”. The group also contacted the Care Quality Commission and expressed their concerns that treatment provided to mothers and babies continues to place them at risk.
In an online petition posted in 2013, the group calls for the resignation of senior maternity staff at the hospital. It accuses the management of conspiring to “cover up cases of clinical negligence which resulted in the harming of and deaths of babies from 2009 to 2013”. The group says that initial concerns were raised in early 2012 to the head of the midwifery unit and also to the former Chief Executive Nancy Hallett in June 2012.
Tracey Fletcher, the current Chief Executive at Homerton University Hospital Trust, has branded the midwives’ campaign as ‘vindictive’. Minutes from the Trust’s Board Directors meeting in October 2013 say that these concerns have been thoroughly investigated internally and that the department is safe. The minutes also say that external reviews, carried out by the Care Quality Commission, the NHS Litigation Authority and a supervisor of midwives, did not raise any ‘significant concerns’. The Trust has not released reports from its internal investigations.
City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group has confirmed that they are now waiting for the results of their own investigations, which started in October 2013.
The Care Quality Commission also recently carried out a routine inspection of the Trust. Their report, published earlier this month, revealed no significant concerns.
The allegations raised are very serious and concerning. Patients who have been treated at Homerton Hospital’s maternity unit will understandably be worried and will want to be reassured that their care was appropriate. In these situations, it is vital that patients who are concerned seek independent legal advice about their legal rights.