Maternity Services downgraded to ‘Inadequate’ following CQC inspection

22 Jul 2022, 3:38 a.m.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has downgraded the rating for maternity services at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to ‘Inadequate’ following an unannounced inspection


Read the full CQC report: CQC Report - Maternity Gloucestershire Hospital.pdf

In their report, the inspection team acknowledged the unprecedented impacts caused by the pandemic as well as the national shortage of staff as key underlying reasons for the rating. They also praised staff for their commitment and dedication to patient care in such adversity.

As well as revising the rating, the CQC has issued a Section 29A Warning Notification against the Trust informing it that these services need to be improved.

The Trust has accepted the report and its findings and says significant improvements have already been made since the inspection in April.

Professor Mark Pietroni, Medical Director and Interim Chief Executive, said: “We accept the findings of the CQC and are determined to make the necessary improvements required. Where we have not met the required standards and have let patients and staff down, we apologise.

“We want to reassure patients that our hospitals remain a safe place to receive care. The Trust has already made changes to immediately address many of the issues raised by the CQC and is delivering an improvement plan designed to address the remaining issues.”

The CQC identified three key areas for improvement:

  • Safety in relation to staffing levels;
  • Improving how staff are involved and engaged within the service;
  • Improving the reporting of incidents and risks, including Modified Early Obstetric Warning Score (MEOWS).

Improvements made since the inspection include:

  • Quality improvement: Following a programme of quality improvement we can be proud of the improvements we’ve made in reducing the number of postpartum haemorrhages which have gone from above to below the national average
  • Despite a national shortage we’re determined to recruit more midwives into our team and we have dedicated midwives whose role it is to recruit, and, importantly, retain staff
  • We’re seeking to appoint a clinical psychologist whose role it will be to understand and help us improve health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Professor Pietroni added: “We must not lose sight of the context in which this inspection was undertaken and we want to be open, honest and clear about the challenges that lie ahead.

“The CQC Maternity Report and Warning Notice come at a time when we are recovering from a pandemic which fundamentally challenged our health service. We need to thank our maternity staff for the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices they have made over the last two years. Our colleagues have gone over and above in caring for our patients and we can be incredibly proud of the many achievements made during this time.

“Staffing numbers remains a huge challenge nationally and our service is no different. Recruitment has successfully reduced the number of vacancies, but we remain 10 full-time posts short of establishment in addition to sick leave and maternity leave.

Lisa Stephens, Head of Midwifery, added: “We completely understand that the CQC findings may be concerning for patients and colleagues. Giving birth is an amazing and special experience, for the mothers, partners, family and across communities and it is a privilege for all our colleagues to share in this.


The full CQC report is available on the CQC website from Friday 22 July 2022.

Gloucestershire Maternity Voices Facebook Live event

Gloucestershire Maternity Voices are holding a Facebook event on Monday 25 July at 8pm. This will be a guided discussion between the MVP Chair and representatives of our Maternity team to reassure families that they will continue to receive excellent maternity care. You can join by visiting

We want to reassure patients that we continue to focus on your care and needs and listening to what matters most to you.

Lisa Stephens, Head of Midwifery