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More midwives, strengthened security and quicker diagnosis

08 March 2017

Ten more midwives are joining The Royal London Hospital’s maternity department as Barts Health rectifies the issues raised in inspections of two of its hospitals last year.

The new recruits will be supported by a strengthened maternity management structure introduced by the hospital’s leadership. A new clinical lead, maternity matron and general manager now oversee the day-to-day running of the service and the hospital’s director of nursing and midwifery has assumed a more hands-on role.

The changes form a key part of the action plans Barts Health has submitted back to inspectors, and build on the steps taken to strengthen security in the maternity unit after the visit. Increased security has been introduced and additional swipe-card access has been added to doors in the hospital.

Lucie Butler, director of nursing and midwifery at The Royal London said: “Inspectors recognised that our staff provide great outcomes for mothers and babies, but they rightly said we needed to strengthen security and give our team more support. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to act quickly to recruit more staff and we’ve now got a real focus on supporting our teams to continue to provide great care.”

At Whipps Cross, we have introduced a high-tech system so patients who may be experiencing kidney problems can get a quick diagnosis from an expert. National findings show too many people die from kidney failure while in hospital and lives could be saved by making sure patients get a quick diagnosis from an expert when they start to deteriorate.

Any patients who show the early signs of kidney problems at Whipps Cross now have their details sent automatically to renal doctors who can quickly establish whether they have a problem which needs treating. 

Dr Heather Noble, medical director at Whipps Cross said: “Inspectors said they saw real improvement when they looked round our hospital compared with the last time they came. This proved our hospital is getting better all the time and we’re determined to go even further this year.”

Since inspectors visited Whipps Cross a new £2.5m high dependency unit has opened to care for some of the most seriously ill patients, hot on the heels of a new paediatric clinical decisions unit and two £5m operating theatres to improve surgical care.

Detailed action plans, which catalogue how the Trust has taken action to remedy the regulatory breaches identified by inspectors, were endorsed by the Barts Health board on 1 March 2017 and will now be reviewed by the Care Quality Commission.

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Barts Health NHS Trust
With a turnover of £1.4 billion and a workforce of around 16,000, Barts Health is the largest NHS trust in the country, and one of Britain’s leading healthcare providers. The Trust’s five hospitals – St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City, including the Barts Heart Centre, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, Newham University Hospital in Plaistow, Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone and Mile End – deliver high quality compassionate care to the 2.5 million people of East London and beyond.


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