Northwick Park Hospital maternity bosses ousted after tragic 8 baby deaths in 5 weeks

The death of eight babies over a five week period at a North West London hospital resulted in several managers losing their jobs or being moved to other roles.

NHS bosses confirmed senior staff at Northwick Park Hospital’s maternity department were replaced following a damning report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) earlier this year.

They noted a “difficult working environment”, which contributed to 13 “serious incidents” in the maternity department between March 2020 and March this year.

This included eight baby deaths across five weeks in July and August, described as “a very high number over such a short period”.

At a Brent Council scrutiny committee meeting on Monday (August 23), councillors said they were “shocked” by what was reported and called for regular updates to monitor the situation.

Cllr Sandra Kabir said: “The CQC said it was not assured the leaders had the skills or abilities to run the service – that is absolutely horrendous.

“I am shocked out of my mind. I have worked worldwide with women and the fact that, in the UK, in my beloved Brent, we have a report like that, it just makes me want to cry.

“We had eight babies die in a matter of five weeks – that is absolutely terrible. Women and families have been affected.”

Chris Brown, chief executive of the North West London University Healthcare Trust, said there had been a “complete new sweep” of the leadership in the department following the report.

He said there was a “much better team in place now” and the trust has an “effective plan” on how to turn things around, though he acknowledged this could take years.

Pippa Nightingale, the senior responsible officer for local maternity services, agreed things “cannot change overnight” and said it was important not to just “tick a box” for the sake of it.

The CQC gave Northwick Park’s maternity services the lowest rating of ‘inadequate’ following an unannounced inspection in April.

In its report, published in June, it said there was a “poor culture” at the hospital, with multiple claims of bullying and intimidation.

A trust spokesperson said: “The trust has been open about improvements needed in maternity and had already instigated an improvement plan that addressed many of the CQC’s concerns.

“We are working closely with our local partners including Brent Council and reporting back to the CQC regularly on our progress.

“We have already made several improvements and are working rapidly to put in place further changes.

“As a local maternity service which delivers more than 4,000 babies each year, we are fully committed to offering a safe, compassionate birth environment which puts our community’s needs first.”

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