East Kent invests £1.6m in more midwives after staffing review

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has announced that it is investing £1.6 million to improve midwifery staffing levels, following a review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

CQC inspectors visited the maternity unit at William Harvey Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, and the community midwifery teams in Canterbury and Dover in July, and ‘raised concerns’ about staffing numbers.

In response, the trust’s board approved the investment at its meeting on 30 September. Extra temporary, qualified staff have been brought in while permanent recruitment takes place, and around 26 additional midwives have been recruited so far.

The CQC has recently published its latest reports into the trust’s child health and maternity services, with the overall rating remaining as ‘requires improvement’.

However, the organisation noted that this was a focused inspection, so no ratings were produced for ‘safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led’. This means that the previous ratings – ‘good’ for caring, effective and responsive, and ‘requires improvement’ for safe and well-led – remain in place.

Sarah Shingler, Chief Nursing Officer at East Kent Hospitals University NHS FT, said: “We continue to work hard to support our midwives’ well-being and help them provide a safe, high-quality service for women and babies. This includes a £1.6m investment to fund an additional 38 additional midwives with 26 already in post.”

The CQC’s reports into maternity services at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Moth Hospital, and at the William Harvey Hospital, are both available to read in full online.