Maternity services at Cramlington and Hexham hospitals in Northumberland get 'good' CQC report

Maternity services at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) in Cramlington have been rated as ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following a recent inspection.
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The regulator looked into whether the service was ‘safe’ and ‘well-led’ in April as part of a national inspection programme, and maintained its previous rating.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust maternity services at Hexham General Hospital were also inspected and rated ‘good’.

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Carolyn Jenkinson, who oversaw the inspections, said: “We saw a service that provided good care to women, people using the service, and their babies.

Maternity care at NSECH has been given a positive CQC report. (Photo by Gavin Duthie/Northumbria Healthcare)Maternity care at NSECH has been given a positive CQC report. (Photo by Gavin Duthie/Northumbria Healthcare)
Maternity care at NSECH has been given a positive CQC report. (Photo by Gavin Duthie/Northumbria Healthcare)

“It was led by committed and effective leaders who had created a kind and caring culture across both hospitals.

“Staff we met at every level displayed an overwhelming sense of pride and happiness at work. They promoted a culture that placed people’s care at the heart of the service, and they recognised the power of caring relationships between people.

“This was reflected in recent survey responses where most people who had received care described staff as excellent.”

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The report found the service at NSECH was usually adequately staffed and management learned lessons when safety incidents took place.

Carolyn added: “It was positive to see the service’s commitment in trying to tackle health inequalities. Leaders understood that these affected treatment and outcomes for people from ethnic minority and disadvantaged groups.

“The service created feedback cards in the five most spoken non-English languages, and a training programme was launched to educate staff on how to identify and reduce health inequalities.

“We will continue to monitor the trust, including through future inspections, to ensure people and their babies can continue to receive a good standard of care.”

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The report singled out an initiative to provide emergency food boxes and free vitamins to vulnerable families for praise, as well as a multidisciplinary foetal well-being education programme at the trust.

It also praised staff training, safeguarding measures, cleanliness, record keeping practices, and the facilities at the hospital.

Katy Lissaman, Northumbria Healthcare’s acting head of midwifery, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the CQC has rated our services as good and the reports clearly reflect the efforts the team make for the women and birthing people, their babies, and families in our care.

“I would like to thank all the staff for their continued compassion and commitment, as well as the support we receive from the wider trust.

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“I am extremely proud of the care we deliver, and we will carry on working hard to ensure it remains of the highest quality.”

Marion Dickson, Northumbria Healthcare’s executive director for nursing, midwifery, and allied health professionals: added: “While we are extremely pleased with this report, we are always looking at ways to improve and I have every confidence that this report will feed into the team’s ongoing work to do everything as well as it possibly can be.

“There is no room for complacency, but staff should be very proud of this report and the picture it paints of the service they provide to the people of Northumberland, North Tyneside, and beyond.”

Northumbria Healthcare’s overall CQC rating remains ‘outstanding’.