Maternity services continue to be rated as Good following Care Quality Commission inspection

A person in blue scrubs checks a baby being held in someone's arms

We welcome the publication of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) latest inspection of services, which is published today (16 February, 2024).

The CQC inspected Maternity Services at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) in November 2023, with the service maintaining its Good status overall. Inspectors also looked at how the service is Well-led, rating this as Good and also increased its rating for how safe services are to Good. Effective, caring and responsive were not included in this inspection and remain rated as Good for the service.

The overall rating for Southmead Hospital and NBT, which runs the hospital and its maternity services, remain rated as Good.

The report highlights that staff “had training in key skills and worked well together for the benefit of women and people using the service”, “assessed risks to women and birthing people, acted on them and kept good care records” and “leaders ran services well using reliable information systems and supported staff to develop their skills”. 

Inspectors highlighted some areas of outstanding practice in the report: 

  • Patient Partner volunteers with experience of using maternity services, who share their perspective on potential changes and improvements.
  • Staff had set-up Project Smile in partnership with local charities and the Islamic Centre to set up focus groups to address poorer outcomes nationally in pregnancy and birth among women and birthing people from Black and Asian backgrounds.
  • Working proactively with the local prison to ensure the needs of pregnant and birthing women and people residing there were being met. This included developing separation boxes that they could take with them on their return to prison.
  • A continuous improvement and learning team to ensure improvements were embedded and shared across services. 

Some areas for improvement were also identified by inspectors during their visit including around the cleanliness and control of infection in some areas, the safe storage of medicines and ensuring all incidents are reported to external bodies as appropriate. 

We took immediate steps to address the safe storage of medicine and have taken action on the small number of other areas identified by the CQC as needing our attention during their inspection.

North Bristol NHS Trust Chief Executive, Maria Kane, said: “We were very pleased to receive this positive report for our maternity services and would like to thank all of the staff who helped to achieve this rating.

“We are always aspiring to improve and will continue to develop the areas of good and outstanding practice identified during the inspection. We have and will continue to respond to the actions which the CQC identified we should take to improve.”

The inspection was carried out as part of CQC’s national maternity inspection programme. The programme aims to provide an up-to-date view of the quality of hospital maternity care across the country, and a better understanding of what is working well to support learning and improvement at a local and national level.

It follows the publication of the CQC Maternity Survey 2023, which included positive feedback from those who gave birth with us last year. The full Maternity Survey 2023 findings can be found on the CQC website.

The full CQC inspection report on maternity services at Southmead Hospital can now be read on the CQC’s website.