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‘Unsafe’ maternity service triggers move

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Following concerns raised in a report published in October, maternity services at Redditch’s Alexandria Hospital have been withdrawn.  The services have been transferred to Worcestershire Royal Hospital earlier this month, a move which has been described by the town’s MP as the right decision.  Conservative MP Karen Lumley agreed that the service was ‘unsafe’, and together with Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid, has met with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to discuss the problems at the hospital.

‘Dirty equipment’

Back in October, a report highlighted eleven known cases of patients being infected by dirty equipment, an issue which the NHS Trust that runs the hospital had known about for some years.  In the report it was noted that two patients had been infected due to contaminated equipment in the endoscopy unit of the hospital.  The report also highlighted an incident affecting seven patients and a second affecting four patients.  The bacteria involved are Pseudomonas which can cause serious problems in weaker patients, and Serratia which can cause pneumonia and other infections.

The other glaring problem at the hospital, and the main reason for closing the unit, has been staff shortages.  The Trust has said that it was ‘unable to safely cover’ all of its neonatal shifts and experienced particular problems at weekends.  It said that it had run an extensive recruitment campaign and had been employing agency staff, however felt it had to seek help from neighbouring hospitals as the situation had ‘become critical’.

After the meeting with the two MPs last Tuesday, Jeremy Hunt said that a Care Quality Commission report would be published within two weeks and that action would be taken within a month over the future of the hospital.

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