Maternity and neonatal services in East Kent: ‘Reading the signals’ report & survey

NHS England commissioned Dr Bill Kirkup CBE to undertake an independent review into maternity and neonatal services at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (NHSFT) in February 2020, following concerns about the quality and outcomes of care.

His findings detail the poor maternity care that over 200 families received at East Kent Hospitals University NHSFT between 2009 and 2020. The Trust failed to provided safe care and treatment which resulted in avoidable harm for mothers and babies, causing tragedy and distress that no family should have to experience.

The full report, Maternity and neonatal services in East Kent: ‘Reading the signals’ report identified four areas for action. In particular, the report states that the NHS could be much better at:

  • identifying poorly performing units
  • giving care with compassion and kindness
  • teamworking with a common purpose
  • responding to challenge with honesty

NHS England are now considering how best to take forward the recommendations, in a way that is the most valuable and supportive to those that use NHS services and also those that provide the services. It is important to note that although this report was focused on maternity and neonatal services, the recommendations are for the whole healthcare system.

NHS England are looking for the perspective of women and families on their experience of compassionate care and multi-disciplinary teams. If you would like to share your views, please complete the survey, which will close on 6th June.