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Abbey Wing at St Peters Hospital

In January 2023, Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were visited by the CQC (Care Quality Commission), who carried out an unannounced focused inspection at St Peter’s Hospital as part of the national maternity inspection programme. The inspection was to look at how safe and well-led maternity services were.

Following the inspection, the CQC published a report on 29 March 2023. Our maternity service has been rated Inadequate.

Providing safe, high quality care for our patients is our priority and the CQC recognised some areas of good practice. This included our engagement with women and the community to plan and manage services. Staff were recognised for working hard despite workforce challenges and were sympathetic to the needs of women receiving care, and understood the service’s vision and values, and how to apply them in their work.

We take the concerns raised during the inspection extremely seriously and apologise to any women, babies, and families for who the care or experience we provided did not meet the expected standards.

Following the inspection in January we have been taking urgent action to make significant improvements to the quality and safety of care provided. This includes:

  • increasing clinical staff in our maternity triage unit to care for women safely,
  • extending the unit to improve the experience and dignity of those in our care and
  • taking action to ensure staff training compliance and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) across the service are improved.

We remain committed to giving both those using our maternity service and the CQC confidence in the quality and safety of our care.

If you have any concerns about your maternity care, please contact Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) by calling 01932 723553 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Julie Smith, Chief Executive
Andrea Lewis, Chief Nurse
Dr David Fluck, Medical Director


Improvements to maternity services at Ashford and St Peter’s

Since the publication of the CQC report we took a number of immediate urgent actions focusing on specific areas of improvement for the service, which includes:

  • Triage
  • Estates and facilities
  • Workforce
  • Students
  • Newly Qualified Midwives Preceptorship
  • Wellbeing
  • Education and training

Workforce and recruitment have been key areas that we’ve had a real focus on since the CQC inspection. As of November 2023, we have recruited 23 registered Midwives and 10 Maternity Support Workers (MSWs) in the past 10 months. Our pipeline of staff is also being supported through multi-methods of entry into a registered midwife route and the pipeline between now and March is a further three. This also includes funding a Triage Team Leader post to oversee the quality improvement project within our maternity triage to improve standards of care, a Workforce and Development Lead Midwife, as well as a Learning Environment Lead Role and Clinical Practice Facilitator to support clinical learning.

Where there have been gaps in workforce rotas for various reasons, we have always co-opted colleagues from the temporary staffing pool to support our substantive team. Locally we have set up a task and finish group to try and address this recruitment shortfall who are leading on a campaign to grow our substantive team in Maternity.

Details about the changes we have implemented to date within the areas listed above can be seen in the graphic below or here.

Improvements to maternity services at Ashford and St Peter’s


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