North West London Hospitals NHS Trust has today welcomed an announcement by the Secretary of State that the maternity unit at NorthwickPark is to be put onto special measures.
It follows a recommendation by the Healthcare Commission (HCC) which was invited in by the Trust to review its maternity services in October last year.
The newly-appointed NWLH Trust Chief Executive Mary Wells said: ‘Special measures are to be welcomed because it will provide external clinical support for the service and additional resources to improve our staffing levels and increase our capacity.’
The number of deliveries in the unit have increased from 3,500 in 2002 to 5,200 in 2004. This has put extra pressure on the unit and staff. The HCC also looked at whether the increased pressures were behind nine maternal deaths between April 2002 and June 2004.The HCC report is expected to follow in the next few weeks.
Mary Wells said: ‘One of the benefits of special measures is that we have been able to forge a clinical partnership with the world-renowned Queen Charlotte’s Hospital which will provide additional support and staff for our unit.’
In addition Prof Arul Kumaran, who is professor of obstetrics at St George’sHospital and two senior midwives from other hospitals will provide external supervision.
The National Clinical Governance Support Team will also be available to improve teamwork in maternity services and help implement the special measures.
Mary Wells said: ‘We would like to reassure mothers that they may be confident in continuing to use the maternity unit. However, we have identified alternative bed spaces at other units including the PortlandHospital for elective caesareans. We have set up an information line for expectant mothers to call.’
Notes to editors:
The information line number for mothers to call is 020 8869 5844. It is open from 9a to 5.
The average rate of maternal deaths at NorthwickPark from 2000 to 2004 was in line with the average for Trusts serving similar populations, but the rate for between 2002 and 2003 was significantly higher than the average.
Contact:- 020 7756 2589 or 07769 722771 (out of hours)