Maternity unit at Queen's Hospital, Romford, awarded 'level 2' safety status by NHS inspectors - meaning insurance premiums will drop
PUBLISHED: 17:16 11 November 2013 | UPDATED: 13:14 12 November 2013
Queen's Hospital's maternity department has seen an "excellent improvement", a team of safety assessors concluded last week.
The unit was awarded 46 out of 50 following an inspection by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) – meaning the insurance premiums it pays the NHSLA for protection against being sued will cost less.
It comes as the National Audit Office warns maternity hospitals are spending up to a fifth of their budget on medical negligence cover.
After a two-day visit to the Rom Valley Way hospital, lead assessor Jackie Russell said: “We have looked at a huge amount of evidence and notes from across the whole of last year and are very pleased to say that the trust is compliant at level 2.”
The hospital had previously been paying premiums at level 1, which are higher.
“This is no mean feat,” she added, “particularly for a large maternity service in a complex area. Forty-six out of 50 is an excellent score and the trust is to be congratulated.
“It has shown an excellent improvement in the standards of care it gives to local women.”
The maternity service is awarded marks out of ten for five key areas. It had to reach an overall score of 40 to pass.
It achieved 10 out of 10 for “organization”, covering strategies, staffing and training, while clinical care was given a score of eight, described by the assessors as “a very excellent score” as “this category can be very tough”.
Care of high-risk women was also given top marks, and both communications and postnatal/newborn care received scores of nine.
Director of midwifery Wendy Matthews said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have been awarded level 2.
“Our staff work so hard to ensure women have the best possible experience here, and to have that endorsed by national assessors is very gratifying.”
A trust spokesman was unable to say how much would be saved by the decrease in insurance premiums.