Maternity CQC report – Frequently Asked Questions

We appreciate the findings within the CQC report into the Hillingdon Hospital Maternity Unit may raise concern with women, birthing people and their families and encourage anyone with concerns to contact their named midwife.

Visit the CQC website to view the report on services at the Hillingdon Maternity Unit at Hillingdon Hospital.

Please click the link above to the CQC website, followed by ‘Read the report of this inspection’ in the purple box at the top of the page – this will show the full report.

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope the below FAQs are helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions you may have.

Please note, improvements made since the findings reported by the CQC on 8 August 2023, as well as further improvements over the next 3 months are detailed within the FAQs below.

What has been improved since the inspection in August 2023?

Since the inspection, the Trust has launched a maternity improvement programme, working to improve the concerns raised by the CQC. 

Improvements include:

  • Air conditioning has been installed in our Midwifery Led Unit and clinical rooms
  • There is a daily equipment check in all areas
  • Eight new midwives have commenced in post since the CQC inspection in August 2023 and a further 20 new midwives were recruited between November and January and will come into post over the next few months
  • Our triage service has been strengthened by the recruitment of a lead midwife
  • We have improved processes for security within inpatient areas

Who can I speak to about my concerns about CQC report?

We would recommend talking to your community midwife in the first instance. If you’d like to speak to other parents, you can do so via the Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnership on Facebook or instagram where key messages and information is shared, in collaboration with the Hillingdon Maternity Unit. For the most up to date information, please also refer to our website.

Our Patient Advice and Liaison Team is here for you to discuss any concerns or feedback you might have with your current care. You can contact them via telephone on 01895 279973 or email PALS are available from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

I am due to give birth soon at Hillingdon – is it safe?

We would like to provide reassurance to all of our women and birthing people and their families who are booked to have their babies at Hillingdon Hospital that our Maternity Unit is a safe place to have your baby.

We appreciate the publication of the latest CQC inspection of our maternity services may be causing families accessing our services to feel concerned about the safety of the service, and of how this may impact them. This is not what we would want for any of the women, birthing people and families accessing our services. We are committed to and are working with the CQC to ensure that all the concerns raised as part of the report are addressed and resolved.

Can I move hospitals?

Yes, you can choose the hospital that you would like to give birth in, and this may not necessarily be the hospital that is closest to where you live. At any point, you are free to change where you would like to have your baby, even if it is very close to your estimated date of delivery.

We understand that some of the findings within the CQC report may be distressing and cause concern for our women, birthing people and their families – we would like to reassure you that the Hillingdon Maternity Unit is a safe place to birth your baby.

Will I be able to have the birth I want?

The maternity unit supports all modes of birth, whether you are choosing to have a vaginal birth, or you would like a caesarean section. The unit has both a Midwifery Led Unit (MLU), and a Labour Ward, as well as supporting homebirth for low risk birth at home.

If you are unhappy with the care or place of birth that you have been recommended, our consultant midwife provides a birth options service; you can ask your midwife / doctor to refer you and they will be happy to write an individualised birth plan with you to support the care that you would like during labour and birth.

How do I change my hospital?

Most hospitals have an online booking system or a form for completion. You can always contact the antenatal clinic of the hospital that you would like to change to and explain the situation. You do not need permission or referral from anyone to change to a new hospital to have your baby. We would encourage you to discuss any concerns with your community midwife in the first instance.

How often will you check on me when I am in active labour?

When you are in active labour, you will be provided with 1:1 care by a registered midwife. Depending on your care needs and the clinical situation, your midwife will carry out observations on you at least every 4 hours and in active labour your baby will be monitored closely, the method and frequency of this monitoring will depend on whether you are requiring low-risk or high-risk midwifery care.

What are you doing to ensure enough staff to keep me and my baby safe?

It has been nationally recognised that there is a shortage of midwives, although we have had a positive recruitment programme this year which has reduced our number of midwifery vacancies. Since our inspection, new midwives have joined our team and another 20 midwives are due to join us over the next few months. Some of these midwives are internationally recruited. At the start of every shift the senior team reviews staffing for the next 48 hours, and we will always ensure there are enough midwives to look after you.

Our staffing rotas are planned and published in advance, and we are fortunate to have a large pool of bank staff who support the service by covering shifts that are vacant due to staff sickness, for example.

We are committed to the continued improvement of midwifery and medical staffing levels to ensure we can provide 1:1 care to all women and birthing people.

What are you doing to ensure I get the support when I need it?

All women and birthing people have a contact number for their community midwife throughout their pregnancy and from the time they first book in with us they are signposted to the relevant contact numbers provided on the front of their notes.

Women and birthing people can discuss what they need during their pregnancy with their community midwife and will be referred as needed to specialist services for support, which includes a birth options clinic, diabetes, mental health midwives etc. where they can access relevant specialised support.

When women and birthing people are in our inpatient care, they receive information about where things are, they’re also shown how to use the call bell, and encouraged to ask for any support they need. We are committed to ensuring all women have 1:1 care in labour and birth areas from a registered midwife.

Who can I speak to if I have concerns before the birth?

If you have any concerns before the birth of your baby, please do not hesitate to speak to your community midwife, the doctor, or the specialist team who are looking after you. There is always a senior midwife on call for the maternity unit who would be happy to speak with you. They can be contacted via our hospital switchboard (01895 238282) between the hours of 8am and 4pm - when calling ask for the maternity bleep holder. Alternatively, you could request referral to the consultant midwife for a discussion to help put your mind at rest, they can be contected between the hours of 8am and 4pm.

Our Patient Advice and Liaison Team is also here for you to discuss any concerns or feedback you might have with your current care. You can contact them via telephone on 01895 279973 or email PALS are available from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

Should I be concerned about my baby’s safety on the ward?

We are dedicated to providing the safest and best possible care to you and your baby. As a team we carry out daily safety checks of our equipment and environment and undertake regular communications as a team to ensure relevant information is shared about the care needs of your baby.

Security of the ward is monitored closely by all staff and all access through the doors to our postnatal ward are controlled by staff on the ward so that access is restricted to the public. This is to ensure the safety of our women, birthing people and their babies on our unit.

To ensure we are fully prepared for the unlikely event of an attempted baby abduction, we run baby abduction drills throughout the year as part of our staff training programme.

If you see anything suspicious or are concerned about you and your baby’s safety at any time, please report this immediately to a member of staff who will alert our security team.

If I am at risk of deterioration, what will you do to ensure my safety

Our staff will ensure that your observations are monitored as required, depending on your care needs. If any of our clinical monitoring are out of range the clinician will ensure escalation to the relevant doctor and ask them to undertake a full review of your clinical needs including your medical history.

How can I flag up issues if I spot something I’m not happy with?

We are always pleased to receive feedback from all women, birthing people and their families who use our facilities; this feedback is useful in improving the services we provide. These issues can be raised by speaking to the ward or clinic manager in which the concern has been noted. Additionally, there is always a senior midwife on duty for the maternity unit who would be happy to speak with you. We also run a ‘Friends and Family’ that we ask service users to complete – this gives the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback.

Issues may also be raised through the Hillingdon Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnership (MNVP) via their Facebook page or via instagram – more information is provided about the MNVP below.

How do you assess, monitor and improve the quality of services?

We listen to our patient feedback via complaints, compliments and incident forms, as your opinions are really important to us.

Regularly monitoring our processes enables us to ensure high quality standards are in place and improvements are made where necessary.

We have a dedicated audit midwife and an annual audit plan going forwards. We also have regular meetings between our teams in maternity to present findings, share learnings, and ensure we are always improving.

Can I speak about my concerns with any other parents?

You can of course speak to other parents; however, we would encourage you to speak with your community midwife about any concerns you may have. Additionally, you can follow the Hillingdon Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) on Facebook, where key messages and information is shared, in collaboration with the Hillingdon Maternity Unit.

Who are Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnership (MNVP)?

The Hillingdon Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnership (MNVP) is a team of people who have had recent engagement with the maternity unit and who are interested in working with us to make our services better. They work with us when we develop any new systems, processes or leaflets to ensure their voices are heard, experiences are learned from, and suggestions considered to improve and develop our services to truly reflect the requirements of pregnant women and their families locally.

The MNVP have a Facebook page and an instagram account which can be accessed by anyone to see what is happening within the unit, and there is the ability to post on the page and some mothers and birthing people like to leave feedback this way.

The MNVP are always interested in hearing from women and birthing people who would like to be involved in helping shape and develop maternity services at the Hillingdon Hospital. You do not need to have any experience in order to be involved and you would always be very welcome at any of the meetings held between the MNVP and hospital.