Northwick Park Hospital told it ‘requires improvement’ as maternity unit and BAME treatment criticised

Northwick Park Hospital. Picture: PA Images

Northwick Park Hospital. Picture: PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Northwick Park requires improvement, the care watchdog has said, with its maternity unit “inadequate” and minority staff feeling discriminated against.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report into the London North West Healthcare NHS Trust labelled it “requires improvement” in four of the five areas assessed.

As well as managing Northwick Park, the trust runs Ealing Hospital and Central Middlesex Hospital in Park Royal.

Central Middlesex is rated “good” despite the trust’s overall score.

The report details how the maternity unit is “inadequate” for safety and leadership.

It says managers were aware of security issues but no action was taken.

The problems included no security on doors between the delivery room and theatres, and electric doors into the unit could also be forced open. This means it could be accessed by the public. The trust said they are being replaced.

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The trust also didn’t have an abduction policy for the maternity unit.

And inspectors found maternity staff had inconsistent knowledge of how to respond to an emergency call.

Northwick Park is the trust’s only maternity unit.

One mother recently posted on NHS review website Care Opinion that she felt “upset and demoralised” after giving birth there.

The report also showed how BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) staff felt there was a glass ceiling in advancing to senior posts, even though they were higher-qualified than colleagues.

The BAME networks at Northwick Park also told the CQC disciplinary action against them was harsher.

The report comes after an inspection in June.

Jacqueline Docherty, chief executive of the trust, said: “I recognise we have not made sufficient progress and in some cases we have not got the basics right. We know this is not acceptable.”

Interim chief nurse Barbara Beal said the safety of mothers was a priority for the hospital, and bosses have taken “immediate action” to address concerns.

The trust’s human resources chief Claire Gore said it had introduced a pre-disciplinary checklist to help BAME staff entering into the process, and has new training and development for them.