Romford's Queen's Hospital maternity care 'failing'

The maternity unit had 50 vacancies

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An east London hospital is failing to meet "essential standards" in its maternity care, a report has said.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said there were major concerns over the care of patients and staffing levels at Queen's Hospital in Romford.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust has been given a week to produce plans to tackle the problems.

The trust said more midwives have been taken on and changes have been made.

Last month, two midwives were suspended after the deaths of a mother and her newborn baby at Queen's Hospital.

Tebussum Ali, known as Sareena, died in January after staff failed to spot signs of her ruptured womb and tried to resuscitate her with a disconnected oxygen mask.

Intense scrutiny

The trust has apologised and has begun an inquiry.

The CQC report said there were major concerns in two areas, of patient care and staffing, and minor concern in four other areas, including lack of equipment, staff training and record keeping.

CQC's Colin Hough said: "This trust will continue to be under intense scrutiny until we are sure that they have taken all necessary steps to ensure that all women and babies using their maternity services receive safe care.

"If we are not satisfied that they have done so, we have a range of enforcement powers available which include prosecution, restriction of services or closure."

The trust's chief executive Averil Dongworth told BBC London the biggest problem it faced was a vacancy of 50 midwives, but that it has managed to fill the posts.

She added: "I absolutely want to reassure mothers that it is my mission to make this one of the best trusts in London, if not the country.

"We have everything going for us - a fabulous building, fabulous equipment and now that we have recruited all of the staff, we will be guaranteeing a very safe and high quality service."

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