In January 2020 the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch was asked by the Department of Health and Social Care to provide a summary report of all the investigations it had undertaken, up to that point, with East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT).
This was due to the rising concerns around the care provided by EKHUFT’s maternity services at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.
HSIB conducts independent investigations of patient safety concerns in NHS-funded care across England, and since April 2018 has been responsible for conducting all maternity investigations in the NHS for cases that meet the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologist’s Each Baby Counts (EBC) programme criteria and maternal deaths (excluding suicides).
The HSIB summary report highlights that from July 2018 to January 2020 HSIB commenced 24 investigations with East Kent, and from December 2018 engaged frequently with the Trust to present evidence of recurrent patient safety concerns in its maternity services. Despite repeatedly raising these concerns with the Trust, HSIB investigators continued to see the same themes reoccurring and in August 2019, asked the Trust to self-refer themselves to their clinical commissioning group (CCG) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).