Long Way to Go Before Maternity Department is Turned Around – Leanne

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The Rhondda AM has said a progress report on a much criticised maternity department shows there is still much work to be carried out.

The second update report from the Independent Maternity services Oversight Panel - established to oversee improvements into maternity services at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board - has found that 68% of actions in the improvement plan are still ‘works in progress.’

The report also said:

  • ‘There is still significant work to do in order to meet the performance standards achieved in other Health Boards’ in rates of caesarean sections and inductions of labour.
  • ‘There is also work still to be done to develop the Maternity Improvement Plan into a more dynamic and responsive plan with clear milestones, targets and deliverables.’
  • ‘The handling of complaints and concerns remains a matter of concern……..the current arrangements are not as coordinated as they need to be and the culture is still sometimes defensive with promises and deadlines sometimes not being kept.
  • ‘There have been a number of factors which have hindered the pace of progress, not least some unexpected and unavoidable absences in critical positions within the Maternity Improvement Team and externally driven delays in recruiting to key posts.’
  • ‘At the beginning of December, the Panel was becoming increasingly concerned that there was insufficient capacity and resilience within the maternity improvement function to deliver the improvement plan and support the clinical review programme and manage engagement and communication with women and families.’

The Oversight Panel was established in response to a series of damning reports into maternity services which found poor standards had led to babies dying.

Leanne said: “There is still a long way to go before the maternity department is turned around. This has been shown in the report of the panel put together by the Labour Government themselves.

“The task demonstrates just how far standards had slipped within the maternity department which had tragic consequences for many families. The Labour Government took their eye off the ball and showed a distinct lack of leadership in this crucial area of government.

“I am concerned that there still appears to be significant staffing shortages within the department, despite a push on staff recruitment.”

Leanne added: “I fail to understand how complaints are still not being handled robustly. Ignoring legitimate complaints, repeatedly and over a number of years, was a significant factor in the department getting into such a mess in the first place.

“I question whether complaints would be dismissed so easily by managers if they came from leafy, middle class communities and not working class areas within the former coalfields of the south of Wales.”    

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