Women’s service review goes public

DEWSBURY and District Hospital is the ‘poor relation’ to others in the same trust, independent experts were told.

Wednesday, 14th March 2012, 6:30 am

The team, called in to review women’s services at the Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, uncovered high sickness rates, low morale and a belief among some staff that Dewsbury was overlooked.

One person said: “Everything is about what Pinderfields wants. Dewsbury has lost its identity.”

Another said: “There’s inequity, staffing levels are different. We’ve missed out on funding.”

The review found services were safe, but made 18 recommendations for improvements.

The Trust’s board was presented with the findings last summer, but a Freedom on Information (FOI) request by the Reporter Series last year to make the review’s findings public was refused.

Now the Trust has released a redacted version, along with an update on the progress made.

Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell, who backed calls to make the findings public, criticised the Trust over the delay.

“Because the trust chose to ignore FOI requests, they’ve had time to put their house in order,” he said. “It makes people feel the culture is one of being less than transparent.”

The review team spoke to a wide range of staff about gynaecology, obstetrics and maternity care at the Trust’s hospitals in Dewsbury, Wakefield and Pontefract.

It found a ‘staggering’ reliance on middle grade locums, unacceptable staffing rotas and little evidence of staff working across the trust’s different sites.

The review said antenatal clinics in Dewsbury were inefficient because registrars were expected to run them without consultant support. And consultants there were described by colleagues as ‘unapproachable, uncooperative and rude’.

Mr Reevell said: “Consultants have a responsibility to behave professionally at all times – that means with other staff and putting patients first. My concern is not the lack of leadership, but almost the negative leadership.”

The trust’s chief nurse and director of patient experience, Tracey McErlain-Burns, said all the recommendations were accepted and significant changes had been made.

She said: “The external review shone a light on some behaviours which are no longer tolerated.”

Changes made include greater cross-site working, the appointment of a clinical manager and work to make the services more consistent.

Ms Mc-Erlain-Burns said the model for midwifery care was being changed to be more flexible and make the most of expertise.

She said the trust would also be appointing two midwife consultants and recruiting midwife support workers.

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