Furness Hospital Maternity Unit is Inadequate, says CQC

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has downgraded the maternity unit at Furness General Hospital from good to inadequate.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been ordered to make improvements after an unannounced inspection in April and May.

The inspection was carried out after concerns about patient safety at its hospitals - Furness General Hospital, the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Westmorland General Hospital - were raised by whistleblowers.

The maternity unit at Furness General Hospital was flagged up as one major area of concern, with its rating being downgraded from good to inadequate because improvements made in the past hadn’t been sustained.

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Inspectors highlighted several problems at the Trust, including:

  • Patients not always getting timely care and treatment, which put them at risk of harm
  • Risks not always being correctly identified, and appropriate mitigations not being put in place
  • Senior leaders not showing the experience or knowledge to do their jobs effectively

It’s very disappointing to see problems at the Trust remain, especially after failings at Furness General Hospital were linked to the deaths of 11 babies and 1 mother between 2004 and 2012. This had been thought to have led to an improvement in services.

The issues raised by the CQC can have a huge impact on patient safety, and each and every person needs to be confident that the highest standards will be met when they go in for treatment.

So we’d urge the Trust to do everything it can to respond to the watchdog’s concerns and implement appropriate changes to make their three hospitals as safe as possible for those who rely on them.

If you’ve been in the care of Furness General’s maternity unit, or any of the Trust’s other services, and have concerns about the care you received, please get in touch with our specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors.

We offer a free claims assessment, so you can speak to us with no obligation, and we’ll discuss your situation and how we can help you.

Patients ‘Not Getting the Care they Deserve’

Ann Ford, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals in the north, has described the findings of the recent inspection as “disappointing”.

"We found a significant downturn in the quality of services provided by the trust, and patients were not receiving the standard of care they deserve,” she said.

Ms Ford acknowledged that improvements have been made in some parts of the Trust, but warned that similar progress isn’t being made across the Trust as a whole.

She added that while staff are largely doing excellent work and “treating patients with compassion sometimes under difficult circumstances,” it is clear the Trust needs extra support.

How We Can Help You

Taking legal action after a medical mistake can be daunting and overwhelming, and we understand that.

So our friendly, experienced team of Medical Negligence Solicitors will do everything we can to make the process as simple and straightforward for you as possible.

That means we’ll let you know in your initial claims assessment straight away if we think you could make a claim.

And if we can take on your case, we’ll take care of the difficult tasks on your behalf, and make sure your claim reflects your specific needs and priorities, and puts you in the best possible position to rebuild your life.

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