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Open letter following latest CQC reports into Leicester’s maternity services

20 September 2023

Dear parents, parents-to-be, and families,

Open letter following latest CQC reports into Leicester’s maternity services

We are writing to you following publication of the recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports into maternity services at our hospitals. The CQC inspected maternity services at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) in February and March 2023, as part of its new national maternity inspection programme. Their findings were published on Wednesday 20 September.

Inspectors visited services at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, the Leicester General and St Mary’s Birth Centre, rating the overall UHL service as ‘Requires Improvement’. This is a move down from our previous rating of ‘Good’. We were also instructed to make immediate improvements in several areas following the inspections.  

We understand this may be concerning to hear. We want to reassure you that we had already identified many of the challenges raised by the CQC and put plans in place to address them. These changes are now embedding. They include improving our staffing levels to ensure a consistently safe service for all. Thirty-five new neonatal nurses have joined us since April last year, 25 new midwives have joined us since January, and a further 24 midwives will join UHL in November.

Other important changes include investment in new equipment and our estate, daily safety checking, and improvements to cleanliness and infection prevention practices. We now have bereavement support in place 7 days a week and have separated telephone triage from our assessment unit to ensure that urgent calls are answered in a timely way by an experienced clinician. We are also progressing work on a new maternity theatre at the Leicester General Hospital meaning that planned and emergency caesareans can take place in separate areas. 

While we know there is much more to do to, we are encouraged by the reports’ reference to the commitment of our hardworking team and the actions being taken to ensure a culture of safety and openness. We have invited the CQC back to see the changes we have made and the impact they are having on the safety and quality of our services. Please be assured that Leicester remains a safe place to give birth, and there are several ways you can get in touch with us if you have any concerns. 

If you are ever worried about the care you are receiving, please contact your community midwife or your named consultant in the first instance. We promise to listen to you and take your concerns seriously. If your concerns are not resolved or you wish to raise them to someone outside of the clinical team, you can contact our Patient Information and Liaison Service:

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) 

You may also wish to engage with the local Maternity & Neonatal Voice Partnership (MNVP), a network of local parents and health professionals that work together to help improve maternity care in our area. You can call them on 07721 327070 or email: llr.mnvp@gmail.com  / www.leicestermaternity.nhs.uk/betterbirths/our-maternity-voices-partnership 

We are committed to working with you to improve maternity services in Leicester and to ensure any feedback you have is heard, recognised, and acted upon. 

Yours sincerely, 

 Jonathan Cusack Danielle Burnett  Julie Hogg  Andrew Furlong
 Clinical Director Director of Midwifery  Chief Nurse  Medical Director

Translated versions of the above video are available below:

English to Urdu translation

English to Gujurati translation

English to Bengali translation

For more information, please contact: communications@uhl-tr.nhs.uk