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Newark: County council chairman of health scrutiny committee calls for resignations of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust chiefs over maternity services

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A county councillor has called for the resignations of two hospital chiefs over concerns about the state of maternity services.

The chairman of the health scrutiny committee at Nottinghamshire County Council Sue Saddington, who represents Farndon and Trent, said the chairman and medical director at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust needed to step aside.

Mrs Saddington said she would also write to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid.

Sue Saddington, of Nottinghamshire County Council. (52184344)
Sue Saddington, of Nottinghamshire County Council. (52184344)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated maternity services at the trust inadequate in December 2020. In July, the CQC was also critical of NUH leadership following inspections of core services — surgery and urgent and emergency care.

Michelle Rhodes, who was appointed chief nurse at NUH in June 2021, today (Tuesday) gave Nottinghamshire health scrutiny committee members an update on maternity progress. This included staffing, engagement with patients and changes to policies and procedures.

Mrs Saddington said: “We are concerned about maternity services from NUH but particularly about its leadership. We recognise the staff as outstanding, showing care, compassion and understanding towards their patients.

"However, the staff are overworked and suffering from exhaustion. They lack contact and communication from the leadership.

“The senior leadership team are presiding over a maternity unit in crisis. It’s a damning report and I hold the leadership team who were in place prior to June 2021 fully responsible. With a department in crisis, I believe the senior leadership team should stand aside and I think they should bring somebody in with leadership skills with compassion, communication and the desire to make the maternity unit a centre of excellence.

“I will be writing to the Secretary of State for Health with my concerns and, if necessary, we will meet him. We owe it to the people of Nottinghamshire.”

Following the recent CQC report that downgraded the leadership of NUH to inadequate, the committee was unanimous in its view that they were no longer the right people to lead the trust forward.

A report from the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) presented at the committee stated a lack of pace and assurance seen across the NUH Maternity Improvement Programme and a lack of focus on impact and outcomes.

Staffing has also been a major issue at NUH, with the CCG’s report continuing: "Progress has been hindered by the change in critical leadership roles such as four directors of midwifes and three chief nurses in eight months as well as the ongoing operational demands."

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