Recently I visited the maternity facility at Dover’s Buckland Hospital to meet with the maternity team and hear about work being done to improve local maternity services.
East Kent Maternity services have been rocked in recent years by a number of tragic baby deaths in East Kent hospitals. I raised the matter in Parliament in 2020 and was instrumental in securing the Kirkup inquiry into avoidable baby deaths for local families who had been affected by tragedy. I also ensured the scope of the Kirkup inquiry work included avoidable deaths associated with failures in pre-birth fetal monitoring and considered the impact of traumatic events on maternal mental health and on the family as a whole. The Kirkup inquiry is due to report its findings in the Autumn.
During my visit to Buckland Hospital, I saw Dover’s maternity facilities and heard from the dedicated team about improvements being made to training, path of care processes as well as the recruitment and training of both new and experienced maternity staff. The tragedy of avoidable baby deaths in East Kent hospitals is deeply felt in our community and I was struck by the commitment, care and concern for mothers and babies shown by the maternity team at Buckland Hospital.
It is clear there has been much work to improve training as well as the path of care processes in local maternity services – along with recruitment of new and experienced maternity team members. Maternity is such an important and rewarding part of healthcare services. So, it is encouraging that more than 20 job offers were made and accepted from the current maternity training round in the East Kent hospital trust following the completion of training contracts.
I hope more local people will look at the opportunities to work and contribute to our local social care and in our NHS hospitals. Better healthcare is so important to us all.