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Leadership crisis at NUH maternity services

12 October 2021

Councillor Sue Saddington, chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council

The Chairman of Nottinghamshire’s Health Scrutiny Committee Councillor Sue Saddington has called for the Chairman and Medical Director at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust to step aside due to concerns about the state of maternity services.

Councillor Saddington will also write to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid MP.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated maternity services 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 gave Health Scrutiny Committee members an update on maternity progress which included staffing, engagement with patients and changes to policies and procedures.

Councillor Sue Saddington, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, 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.

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.

Coun Saddington said: “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.”

A report from the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) presented at today’s 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 on-going operational demands.’


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