Care Quality Commission
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CQC publishes report on London maternity centre

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a report on an east London maternity service, following an inspection undertaken in November.

CQC inspected the Barkantine Centre, on the Isle of Dogs, to assess whether improvements CQC found were needed following an inspection undertaken in August were being made.

Following the previous inspection, the Barkantine Centre was rated inadequate. CQC also served Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the service, a warning notice requiring it to make improvements in the service to ensure people’s safety.

During the previous inspection, Barts Health recognised improvements were needed, and it voluntarily closed the service while it addressed staffing and safety issues. The service reopened in early November 2022 for antenatal and postnatal appointments.

The latest inspection found improvements had been made.

However, as the inspection was undertaken to assess specific concerns, it was not broad enough to change any of the service’s ratings, so the service remains rated inadequate overall. A future inspection will assess whether the service has met standards to improve its rating.

Similarly, ratings for the trust are unchanged by this inspection. It remains rated requires improvement overall.

Nicola Wise, CQC deputy director of operations for London, said:

“I’m pleased Barts Health has been proactive in addressing issues we raised regarding the quality and safety of care at the Barkantine Centre.

“Our latest inspection found the service had improved policies and procedures for emergency transfers and evacuation from birth pools, and better compliance with training targets to support people’s safety.

“Additionally, there was better management of emergency equipment.

“The trust now needs to ensure these improvements are embedded and sustained, so people consistently receive the safe and effective care they have a right to expect. We will assess whether the trust has met this at a future inspection.

“We continue to monitor the service and the wider trust in the  areas needing improvement, and to support it to build on where good care is being provided.”

The inspection found:

  • Policies and procedures for emergency transfers and evacuation from birth pools had improved
  • Scenario-based training had been undertaken
  • Compliance with mandatory training targets had improved
  • Access to emergency equipment and equipment checks had improved
  • There was an enhanced governance structure to review performance and delivery of care
  • Managers had improved oversight of the service.
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