East Kent Hospitals Trust to be 'held to account' after maternity failings

East Kent Hospitals Trust to be 'held to account' after maternity failings

The East Kent Hospitals Trust will be ‘held to account’

GB News
Theo Chikomba

By Theo Chikomba

Published: 29/06/2023

- 14:31

Maria Caulfield has vowed action following a meeting with impacted families

The East Kent Hospitals Trust will be ‘held to account’ for its ongoing maternity failings, according to a Government health minister.

Maria Caulfield met with families of babies or relatives who died after receiving care at hospitals in East Kent because of insufficient help.

The health minister spent two hours speaking to affected families at Canterbury Christ Church University in a private meeting.

Lyn Richardson was at the meeting. Her daughter, Rebecca Kruza, 39, took her own life months after her ‘traumatic birth’ in October 2016 at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent.

Lyn Richardson's daughter took her own live

GB News

Her foundation, called Everglow: The Rebecca Kruza Campaign, had submitted evidence to the Kirkup Inquiry providing details of Rebecca’s case and the experiences of a number of other patients and is calling for a number of measures to be implemented.

During the meeting she had questions about why Everglow’s committee members had been blocked by the Department of Health and Social Care and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency for two years, whom she says they have insisted that there were no issues to fix.

She added: “Considering the decade of failings that have brought us all here today, will the DHSC now meet with Everglow to collaborate on the improvements we’ve been campaigning for since 2017 when Rebecca took her life, 6 years ago next week on the 14th June?”

They include a mandatory duty of care for health visitors and GPs to support mothers and babies where symptoms of mental health emerge and introducing regular health checks from midwives in the post-natal period.

She said she’s pleased that the Secretary of State will make a request for Everglow’s inclusion on Kent County Council Health Scrutiny Committee.

Responding to the meeting at Christ Church, Richardson says some scepticism remains because there was a great deal of rhetoric and repetition.

She added: “Some progress has clearly been made and recommendations proposed, based on the findings of the Kirkup report. DHSC haven’t dealt with one area which is yet to be decided, and the recommendations will be fully responded to, along with the decisions on the government legislation of The Public Accountability Bill due by the end of this summer."

Richardson says her daughter wasn’t given adequate care when her daughter requested help after she gave birth. She says Becky began to feel ‘afraid’ and ‘ashamed’ and turned to a private psychiatrist.

She was prescribed Mirtazapine and Zopiclone medication to help her symptoms. But her mother argues this compounded ongoing issues.

As a result of the failures at the hospitals in Kent, The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has withdrawn its accreditation of a university’s midwifery course due to fears over quality and safety.

The regulator highlighted concerns that students at Kent’s Canterbury Christ Church University were not gaining the expertise needed to deliver safe, effective, and kind care.

An NMC director said the decision was made in the “best interests of women, babies, families”.

The health minister spent two hours speaking to affected families at Canterbury Christ Church University in a private meeting

GB News

The university said the move had “devastating consequences” for its student midwives.

A University spokesperson told GB News, “Our absolute priority is the wellbeing of our students and staff and ensuring that our students can continue to complete their studies and begin their future careers, to be the high-quality, much needed midwives that this region needs.

In response to the withdrawal of the course in Canterbury, the Department of Health and social care said: “We are clear that midwifery students much receive training which allows them to deliver the highest quality of care to mothers and babies.

“This will be a difficult moment for midwifery students at the Canterbury Christ Church University, and we are working to minimise the impact this has on them.

Following the latest CQC report, East Kent Hospitals Chief Executive, Tracey Fletcher, apologised about the current state of maternity facilities.

She said: “I am sorry that despite the commitment and hard work of our staff, when they inspected in January, the Care Quality Commission (CQC found that the Trust was not consistently providing the standards of maternity care women and families should expect.”

The Trust say they responded immediate to the concerns raised by CQC by; increasing doctor staffing in the triage service at William Harvey Hospital, changes to ensure better access to and regular checking of emergency equipment, employing more specialists and increased cleaning of the environment.

They added further commitments are being implemented to improve the culture and multi-professional team working underlined by Dr Bill Kirkup through the independent investigation into maternity services.

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