The maternity review of Cwm Taf health board, which covers the Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil areas of South Wales, has revealed a service that is under extreme pressure and as a result the service has been placed into special measures by the Welsh Government.
The review was prompted by 25 serious incidents, including eight stillbirths and four neonatal deaths, between January 2016 and last September.
Left Unity Wales statement – maternity crisis at Cwm Taf health board
It was led by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology, and the Royal College of Midwives, which found 11 areas of immediate concern at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant and Prince Charles in Merthyr Tydfil, including:
● Often no consultant obstetrician on the labour ward, and difficult to contact
● Not enough midwives, putting them under “extreme pressure”
● Consultants were not always available out of hours – and would take 45 minutes to get in
● “Fragmented” consultant cover while their roster arrangements were “complex and inflexible”
● High numbers of locum staff at all levels
● Staff not aware of guidelines, protocols, triggers and escalations
● “Punitive culture” within the service and staff felt senior management did not listen to their concerns, which they had “voiced repeatedly over a long period of time”
As Left Unity Wales and People’s Assembly Wales we’ve sought to draw attention to the cumulative effects of 10 years of Tory government austerity cuts which have been passed down to our services including those in Cwm Taf. If you look at this list of concerns what stands out is the shortage of qualified staff, staff struggling to cope and the use of temporary staff all of which we believe are related to financial cuts.
The conspiracy of silence around the effects of austerity continues but it will not stop us from speaking out and making the case that our politicians should have fought against austerity cuts and not implemented them.