The Inspectors expressed concerns over the staffing levels and a lack of equipment which they said posed significant risks.
The hospital has since been told to make urgent improvements in its maternity services.
The Care Quality Commission found that the maternity section at Countess of Chester Hospital has a dangerous lack of staff and suitable equipment. According to the Inspectors, the hospital also had the least rate nationally for staff morale.
The bosses at the hospital in response said they were working hard to make improvements.
The inspection made in February and March was unannounced but was carried out due to the concerns raised over the quality of care in certain areas.
These areas included; medical care, surgery, maternity care and urgent and emergency services, as well as leadership.
At the maternity unit, the inspectors found several shortcomings and most glaring was the lack of enough staff with the right qualifications or skills to keep women and babies safe. There wasn’t also suitable equipment to do this.
The inspectors in their report said that the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust did not learn from compromised safety incidents to avoid them happening again.
It said between April and November last year, five patients had major haemorrhages after childbirth at the hospital, which made them undergo unplanned hysterectomies.
The CQC also said that not only were not all of those incidents reported as serious, action plans were not taken as urgently as the situation required and one patient’s life saving surgery was delayed as there was no hysterectomy kit in that part of the hospital.
‘High Waiting Times’
The Inspectors also added that staff morale was lowest at the hospital even as some staff complained of bullying and discrimination. Also, not all staff felt respected, supported and valued.
There were also high waiting times in the hospital as highlighted in the report. As against the national target of 93%, only 13% of patients showing symptoms of breast cancer were seen within two weeks.
However, urgent and emergency services were able to maintain a “good” rating as Inspectors did find staff were caring and knew how to protect patients from abuse.
Karen Knapton, the CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said the trust had “work to do to ensure people consistently receive the safe and effective care they have a right to expect“.
She said, “We recognise NHS services are under enormous pressure, however, senior leaders must be visible and have good oversight to manage and mitigate challenges and risks – and we found this was lacking.”
Trust chief executive Dr Susan Gilby, said work was under way to address “key areas for further improvement”.
She said; “In our maternity department, we have implemented and are continuing to develop measures to ensure we can consistently provide patients with the safe and effective care they have a right to expect.”
She also added that the hospital also wanted to recognise “the work which has taken place to embed a culture of compassionate care and treatment across services”.
How can Medical Negligence Direct help?
Our Medical Negligence solicitors are experts when it comes to NHS negligence and Hospital negligence claims in Chester. We believe that every patient has the right to standard health care as at when needed.
The time of child birth should be a time of joy for the mother and indeed the entire family after a long 9-month journey. It is however unfortunate that women and their children suffer as a result of failings in the hands of those in whose care they are entrusted.
We therefore leave no stone unturned to see that the family gets the justice they deserved and are appropriately compensated for their suffering.
We look forward to having a no obligation chat with you to discuss your claims and determine if you have strong grounds for a claim.
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