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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch West Berkshire

CQC rating for maternity services at the John Radcliffe Hospital drops

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a report following an unannounced inspection of the maternity services at the John Radcliffe Hospital, which is run by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

CQC also visited the Cotswold Birth Centre and the Horton Midwifery Led Unit in May, after receiving information of concern about the culture of the department.

The inspection looked at whether the service was safe, effective and well-led. Afterwards, the rating for maternity services went down from good to requires improvement. This inspection did not change the overall rating for the hospital, which is requires improvement.

Inspectors found the following during this inspection:

  • Managers did not always monitor the effectiveness of the service through local audit, and they did not always have effective governance processes.

  • Some staff did not always feel respected, supported and valued.

  • The environment meant that staff could not always respect women’s privacy and dignity.

  • Staff did not always assess risks to women, and they did not always manage medicines well.


  • Leaders ran services well using reliable information systems and supported staff to develop their skills. They were focused on the needs of women receiving care.

  • The service had enough staff to care for women and keep them safe. Staff had training in key skills, understood how to protect women from abuse.

  • The service managed safety incidents well and learned lessons from them. Staff collected safety information and used it to improve the service.

  • Staff provided good care and treatment and worked well together for the benefit of women. They advised them on how to lead healthier lives, supported them to make decisions about their care, and had access to good information.

  • Staff were generally clear about their roles and accountabilities. The service engaged well with women and the community to plan and manage services and all staff were committed to improving services continually.

  • The service planned care to meet the needs of local people, took account of women’s individual needs, and made it easy for people to give feedback. People could access the service when they needed it.

Dr Bruno Holthof, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford University Hospitals, said:

“On behalf of the Trust Board, I would like to thank all staff working in our maternity services for their positive approach to the CQC inspection in May and for everything that they do every day to look after the women and babies in their care.

“I am delighted that the CQC inspectors have publicly recognised in the report published today that our maternity staff provide good care and treatment and work well together for the benefit of women in their care, and also identified a number of other positive areas.

“However, it is important to acknowledge that the CQC inspectors also found significant areas for improvement and raised concerns which have resulted in the rating for our maternity services going down from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires improvement’.

“The Trust Board is working with the senior management team in our maternity services to develop a comprehensive action plan to address these areas for improvement and concerns. Completion of the action plan will be monitored through the Trust’s governance processes and completion dates for key actions will be agreed.”

The full CQC report can be found here.

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