Suzanne Lee, a midwife with 25 years of experience, spoke to The Star to explain that the care given at the Jessop Wing is as good as ever, in spite of the CQC report that was published last week and saw the overall rating of Sheffield’s maternity unit downgraded from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’.
The report, which took place following an unannounced investigation by the CQC beginning in March, did not rate the standard of care delivered by front-line workers at Jessop Wing.
Instead, reportedly following a tip off from concerned midwives working within the unit, it focused on whether the unit was well-led, safe (both inadequate) and effective (requires improvement).
Ms Lee praised the fact that the need for change had been highlighted by the report, and said she wanted to offer reassurance to the Sheffield public from a midwife who works at ‘ground level’ for the Jessop Wing.
She explained: “The CQC has recently rated the Jessop Wing as overall inadequate. So far you have heard some responses from senior leaders regarding this rating.
"I have been a midwife for 25 years and have worked in the NHS for a total of 33 years. My passion for midwifery and midwifery care is strong, very strong, as is the majority of my care giving colleagues.
"‘Caring’ was not assessed during this recent visit by the CQC. I have witnessed many changes during my years within the NHS, change after change and not always for the better.
"The one thing that I feel hasn’t changed is the passion, dedication and commitment given day to day by front-line workers.
"I feel I work alongside outstanding ground level workers. Our care is not inadequate, the care we endeavour to give is outstanding.
"Please do not let the report frighten you away from a unit with excellent caregivers. The report has now prompted help, as senior leaders accept and receive the support they require to make the changes and we are allowed time and resources, we will all feel the benefits.
“I wish you all hope and faith for a better future.”
Full story on the CQC report: CQC takes urgent action over concerns for pregnant women’s safety at Jessop Wing
Following the publication of the investigation’s findings, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been instructed to take ‘urgent’ action to improve on issues highlighted in the report.
This issues include: ensuring deaths are always reported as serious incidents and properly investigated; managing and responding to patient risk effectively; ensuring there is adequate staffing levels and systems in place so midwives can provide the level of care they ought to; and ensuring safety procedures including security drills and the testing of equipment are followed.
Following the report, the Royal College of Midwives called on the Government to better fund maternity services to as to improve staffing levels – an issue it says has ‘amplified pressure’ on midwives and is a key reason they are at times unable to provide the standard of care they strive for.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has stressed that, since the initial findings of the report on March 12, a number of measures have already been implemented to improve the services, and has reassured patients that their safety is paramount.