Nottingham maternity services have improved but still “Require Improvement” as per CQC Ratings

The Quality Care Commission (CQC) have revisited Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) over recent months to reconsider the safety and quality of the maternity services it provides. They had previously rated the services as “inadequate” but as of 13 September 2023, have improved this rating to “requires improvement”.

Although this shows a definite step in the right direction for maternity services in Nottingham, it is clear that there is still work which needs to be done. NUH is currently subject to the largest review into maternity services negligence in the UK after a huge number of failings have been identified, with over 1,800 families known to be involved directly in the review.

Although it will be a relief for expectant mothers who are due to give birth in Nottingham over the coming months, for the families who have suffered bereavements or life-changing injuries, these improvements will likely feel small and there will certainly be a cry for these improvements to continue and increase over the coming months.

CQC's recent rating of Nottingham University Hospitals' maternity services

The most recent CQC report, published on 13 September 2023, confirms that from their unannounced inspection of the maternity services at both Nottingham City Hospital and Queens Medical Centre, the CQC have found improvements in areas such as staff being able to identify and protect women from abuse and have found that women are being treated with care, are being given enough to eat and drink, are being given effective pain relief when required, and are being treated with compassion and kindness whilst their individual needs are being properly considered. However, issues of safety have still been highlighted as concerning and requiring improvement. The CQC have found that there are still not “enough substantive staff to care for women to keep them safe”. In addition, it has been found that not all risks to women are identified and acted upon in a timely manner, risks of infection are not always being dealt with by using best practice methods, medicines are not managed well, and the trust is not always complying with its statutory responsibility for duty of candour. This means that women and families are not always being informed in an open and honest way of failings which are known to have taken place.

Donna Ockenden's Nottingham maternity negligence review continues

With safety being the paramount concern for all affected families and current service users, it is hoped that these outstanding negligence issues are improved as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, Donna Ockenden’s review into Nottingham maternity negligence will continue, but even she has noted that implementing these changes will be “a marathon, not a sprint”. It is hoped that her report will be published by the end of 2024, to outline the reality of the concerns and changes which are required within Nottingham.

Katy Barnett, of our Maternity Negligence team, noted:

At Freeths we are encouraged by the changes which are being made, and by the improved rating of the NUH maternity services, however we are conscious that improvements regarding the safety of mothers and babies still needs to be prioritised and expedited as much as possible. It is not yet time for the Trust to rest on its laurels, as further real change is still required.”

As clinical negligence lawyers we have been contacted and represent a number of families and children who have suffered or have lost loved ones as a result of failures in maternity care during labour and birth. These claims seek to ensure that any child who has suffered a preventable injury can access the services they require such as care, therapy, aids and equipment, and suitably adapted accommodation which may assist them during their lives. For those who have sadly suffered loss we can help to secure support and therapy to help those suffering to come to terms with these devastating events. We can also help secure an apology from the Trust responsible and seek to ensure the same mistakes are not made again.

If you or a loved one have similar concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free, confidential discussion. For further information visit our Nottingham Maternity Negligence page.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

Get in touch

Contact us today

Whatever your legal needs, our wide ranging expertise is here to support you and your business, so let’s start your legal journey today and get you in touch with the right lawyer to get you started.


Get in touch

For general enquiries, please complete this form and we will direct your message to the most appropriate person.