Newham Hospital Maternity Facing Unwarranted Skills Shortage

There are a lot of pluses to derive from the recent inspection of Barts Health Trust which moved up the ratings in many areas. The overall rating is ‘requires improvement’, however, as it was before.

Of real concern, however, is that all 4 ‘inadequate’ ratings were at Newham hospital and that 3 of these were located in Newham Hospital Maternity. 

The report states “At both the last inspections we observed midwives were overstretched, and we found this on this inspection too: midwives on the delivery suite did not get breaks and worked beyond the end of their shifts.
Midwifery skill mix was also a concern. The shortage of experienced midwives affected the amount of supervision they could give to the high proportion of less experienced staff.”

This should come as no surprise since a report dated May 9th. 2018 shows that a new ‘skills mix’ was imposed in maternity. This is a method for deskilling the workforce so that costs are cut. There are less doctors, nurses, midwives, and trained professional health workers, which in the case of Mid Staffs Trust actually led to problems with care and standards in general.

The new ‘skills mix’ was transformed from 100% RM ( registered midwives) to 90% RM and 10% MSM ( Maternity support workers) . This means that Newham midwives work without breaks, in excess of their agreed working hours, working long shifts including night shifts, and with tight work rotas. This leads to increased stress for this vital section of workers who deserve better, as do those in their care.

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