Staff at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust are celebrating after its maternity services were rated ‘Good’ following an CQC inspection by the Care Quality Commission. The inspection, which took place in October, looked at how safe and well-led services provided at Queen Alexandra Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital and Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

The CQC highlighted several areas of good practice including:
 Women and people using the service spoke positively to inspectors about the professionalism and quality of care they received.
 Staff told inspectors they felt respected and praised the safety culture and collaborative working in the service. Leaders should be proud to have developed a culture that is committed to improving care.
 Staff were well-trained, understood how to protect woman and birthing people from abuse, and managed safety well.
 The service had several ongoing improvement projects including work to engage with less-heard groups such as people from local Filipino, Ghanaian, and Nigerian communities.
 Staff spoke positively about working at the trust and leaders took a strong focus on staff wellbeing, ensuring they took time for breaks during their shifts.

The news comes as the Trust also received positive results in the CQC inspection National Maternity Survey 2023, which looks at patient experience, maintaining scores from the previous year and rating higher than most trusts for eight questions, including scoring 9.7 (out of 10) for provision of mental health support during pregnancy.

Chief Executive Penny Emerit said: “I am so pleased that the hard work and commitment of our team has been recognised in this way. Our teams can be proud of this Good rating. And even more importantly, they can be proud of the positive impact that their focus on improving has for our community and colleagues.

Chief Nurse Liz Rix said: “Both the CQC Good rating and positive results in the CQC inspection Maternity patient experience survey are such fantastic achievements and show the dedication of our maternity teams and senior leaders to providing high standards of care.”

Director of Maternity Services and Midwifery Lynn Woolley said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have
achieved this Good rating and it reflects the hard work of all our teams who want to give the best
possible care.

“We know that good doesn’t mean perfect and the service is working hard in partnership with families
to understand where we can do better, so we can continue making improvements.”

Carolyn Jenkinson, Deputy Director of Secondary and Specialist Care, said: “When we visited maternity services at Portsmouth University Hospitals NHS Trust, we found leaders had effective systems and processes supporting staff to provide good care.

“Inspectors saw staff at all three hospitals had the skills and knowledge to keep women, people using the service, and their babies safe. The trust has also set up a new maternity passport which was developed with the local community and aims to improve the experience for women and people using the service who have a learning disability.”

The rating for maternity services at Queen Alexandra Hospital was raised from requires improvement to good overall, and for being safe. Well-led has been rated as good again. St Mary’s Hospital’s maternity services have been rated as good overall, and for being safe and well-led. Maternity services at Gosport War Memorial Hospital were also rated as good overall, and for being safe and well-led.

This is the first time maternity services at these two hospitals have been rated as standalone services without gynaecology.

Maternity Outpatient Matron Michelle Graham said: “As part of our improvement, the service has gone through a complete culture change and every single member of staff, clinical and non-clinical, has contributed.

“We are really proud and it is wonderful to be able to celebrate all the hard work.” The Portsmouth and South East Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnership has been working closely with the Trust to improve networking and engagement with ethnic minority groups, including the MORIAH project (an organisation focused on dismantling complex social inequities and building
thriving communities of colour), cross cultural women’s groups and the community associations for Filipino, Ghanian, Gambian and Nigerian

Chair Qamer Yasin added: “I am delighted with the Good result and it is a testament to all the dedicated teamwork between our partnership, the Trust and people who use the services. Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust is rated ‘Good’ overall after receiving its second re-rating in July 2022.