North Midlands NHS Trust maternity services urgently require significant improvement

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (“UHNM”) have been informed by the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) that their maternity services require ‘significant improvement’ and they have only been given until 30 June 2023 to make urgent changes to ensure the safety of patients.

The CQC visited UHNM in March 2023 where they felt that there were insufficient effective systems in place to ensure patients were looked after to the appropriate standard. It was also noted that staff failed to use a prioritisation process to ensure that delays in the induction of labour were monitored and effectively managed.

When the inspectors visited UHNM there was confusion as to how many people were waiting to be triaged and for those that had been seen, where in the triage process they had reached. Delays with triage are not limited to this occasion. In 2022, a delay in triage led to a tragic intrauterine death, a delay with a further patient showed they had sadly suffered a stillbirth, yet they had been at hospital waiting for nearly an hour to be seen. In addition to concerns surrounding triage, it was also noted there were delays for those waiting for induction, with 7 out of 18 patients scheduled for induction being delayed from the previous day. There was even found to be one high-risk patient that had their induction delayed five days in a row.

As a result of the recent findings by the CQC, should UHNM fail to make swift effective changes to their maternity services then further action may be taken against them. The CQC have acknowledged that changes have been made since their visit and a positive impact has been made. It does remain to be seen as to whether these changes become embedded within the department and whether the care provided to mothers and their babies improves.

In addition to concerns flagged by the CQC, there has also been focus on the number of neonatal deaths at the same Hospital Trust. During 2021, 31 babies sadly died whilst in the care of the Royal Stoke. This figure did reduce the following year however many families were left suffering tragic loss. UHNM believe that the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic affected both staffing levels and births. The pressure of babies being delivered at an earlier stage added to the strain on services. The Trust confirm that they have taken away learning from that time and have increased staffing levels.

Karen Reynolds, Partner within the Clinical Negligence team, has reflected upon the recent findings: “I am afraid that we have pursued claims against the Trust before relating to poor maternity care. These include neonatal deaths so I am not persuaded by the Trust’s explanation that it related to COVID and staff shortages as these predated COVID-19. I am afraid this follows a pattern of poor maternity care across the country”.

Our clinical negligence team has a wealth of experience in dealing with the effects of poor maternity care, birth injuries to mother and baby and still birth. If you think that you, or a loved one, may have been affected by negligent medical care during pregnancy or birth whilst under the care of University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust or elsewhere, you are welcome to contact our team to discuss how we can help and support you:

  • Karen Reynolds | Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent/Birmingham/Manchester/Liverpool): 0345 272 5677 or by email to
  • Siobhan Genever | Director: 0345 030 5774 or 07971 586185 or by email to
  • Demi Shephard | Trainee Solicitor: 0345 128 7996 or by email at
  • Ibrahim Mahmood | Legal Assistant: 0345 126 4359 or by email to

For further information please get in touch with our Clinical Negligence Team.


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