Council committee calls for resignation of NUH medical director and president

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There have been calls for the medical director and chairman of the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to step down after a damning report on his maternity services.

Nottinghamshire County Council Health Review Committee Chair Cllr Sue Saddington (Con) also said she was writing to Health Secretary Sajid Javid to express concerns about the leadership of the trust .

Dr Keith Girling, medical director of the Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH), did not attend the review committee meeting on Tuesday, October 12, due to health concerns.

In her absence, Cllr Saddington and other advisers questioned Head Nurse Michelle Rhodes, who joined the trust in June.

The trust manages both Nottingham City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Center.

Ms Rhodes told the committee that the trust’s maternity staff “were working and doing all they could to keep women and babies safe.”

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In December, the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, released a report calling maternity services at Queen’s Medical Center and the city hospital “inadequate.”

Cllr Saddington said it was time for other members of the Trust’s leadership team, including Dr Girling, to step down over fears service would not improve with them at the helm.

She said: “This is a damning report, and I hold the previous management fully accountable. With such a department in crisis, I think the management team should steer clear.

“You have to bring in someone to take charge of leadership skills, compassion and communication and make NUH motherhood a center of excellence. “

In a statement released shortly after the meeting, Cllr Saddington added that she believed NUH President Eric Morton and Medical Director Dr Girling should step down, adding: “The leadership team presides over a maternity hospital in crisis. This is a damning report and I hold the management team that was in place before June 2021 fully accountable. “

More than £ 91million in compensation and costs has been reported to have been paid by NUH from 2010 to 2020 in connection with brain damage suffered by 46 babies and 19 stillbirths.

Cllr Saddington said she believed the committee had heard nothing but empty talk about improving NUH maternity services since the CQC report.

She said, “This report you have had is devastating for any mother who goes to Queen’s Medical Center and the city hospital. This responsibility rests with Keith Girling. He was in charge of the unit and sat down and let it happen.

She and other members of the committee said they would write to Secretary of State for Health Sajid Javid to inform him of the “lack of progress” in leadership.

She added, “We can’t stay here any longer and see this motherhood crumble around us. Babies who are born injured or die are someone’s precious child.

“We cannot let this continue and we will write to the Secretary of State and may well see him. It must be taken to the highest level. We owe it to the people of Nottinghamshire.

“We know Keith Girling because we know his name, but he’s not here to work alone. He has a piece of advice behind him and the advice that made it happen all are guilty and that’s what we’ll say. .

Cllr Matt Barney (Con), vice chairman of the committee, said he spoke to hospital staff who told him he had not seen a full improvement plan for the service.

He added: “I would like to ask the question: does the NUH leadership have the capacity and the credibility to bring order to this house? I don’t think they do.

Head nurse Ms Rhodes said “a significant amount of work” had been done, including setting up a 24/7 counseling line for pregnant women to talk to. a midwife on the phone.

She said the biggest challenge for the trust was staffing. She said there will be 38 more midwives in post by October and 20 more will arrive in January.

However, she said, even with the increase, there are still vacancies, adding that the other risk was staff morale after the damning report on the service.

“We are working very hard with our maternity teams and the whole organization to build the trust that we have clearly lost,” she added.

“We have exhausted and depressed staff right now because things at NUH are not as good as we would like. “

She said there were also concerns about the demand on the maternity ward, which is not only felt in Nottingham but across the country.

She said the trust would ring daily in hospitals to see if they would take their pregnant women, but “no one else can take them.”

She said, “It puts constant stress on our midwives. Our teams work and do everything possible to ensure the safety of women and babies. “

NUH has been contacted since the meeting for further comments.


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