ST PETER’S Hospital is taking “urgent action” to improve quality and safety of care, after a recent inspection rated its maternity service as “inadequate”.

The Chertsey hospital was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in January. The unannounced visit, part of a national inspection programme, looked at how safe and well-led maternity services were. The CQC published its report on Wednesday.

“Our maternity service has been rated ‘Inadequate’,” said Julia Smith, chief executive of Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

“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.”

She said the hospital had been making “significant improvements” to the maternity service, such as:

  • increasing clinical staff in the maternity triage unit to care for women safely

  • extending the unit to improve the experience and dignity of patients

  • taking action to ensure staff training compliance and infection prevention and control 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,” said Mrs Smith.

“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.”

The hospital suspended the use of gas and air for those in labour from midday on Thursday, to protect staff who may have had extended exposure “due to issues with ventilation”.

A statement on the trust’s website said: “We have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the use of Entonox (gas and air) for pregnant women and birthing people at St Peter’s Hospital and are very sorry if you are affected by this.

“Homebirths are unaffected and Entonox will continue to be available.”

Ashford and St Peter’s is one of a number of NHS Trusts to temporarily suspend the use of Entonox in its maternity service.

A spokesperson said: “We are working hard to rectify the issues and will reinstate Entonox use as quickly as possible.

“If you have any concerns about your maternity care, please contact us via our Maternity Help Line on 01784 884047 (open Wednesday-Friday 9am-4pm) or Patient Advice and Liaison Services by calling 01932 723553 or emailing [email protected].”