Complete the form below to ask us a question or make an enquiry. We’ll get back to you via phone or email as soon as possible.


Poor Results for Maternity Services Inspection in Devon Hospitals

Posted on 19th March 2024 in Medical Negligence

Posted by

Clair Hemming

Partner and Solicitor
Poor Results for Maternity Services Inspection in Devon Hospitals

At the end of 2023, the Care Quality Commission published reports that highlighted concerns about the safety standards of maternity units across the country. The Medical Negligence team at Tozers were saddened to read that more recently maternity services at Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (RD&E) and North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) in Devon have recently undergone evaluations that revealed areas where improvements are needed.

CQC Inspection Findings

The inspection from the CQC highlighted various challenges at both hospitals, including:

  • Problems with midwifery staffing
  • Gaps in risk management systems
  • Incomplete staff training
  • Concerns regarding medicine storage
  • Concerns about drills for baby abduction

Ratings and Ongoing Concerns

Despite hopes for progress following the integration of management under the same Trust, both hospitals' maternity services received a rating of "requires improvement" from the CQC. This assessment is disheartening, especially considering the ongoing concerns surrounding NDDH's maternity services, which have faced criticism in the past for consistently failing to meet standards. Some patients have even sought legal recourse from firms including Tozers due to severe injuries having resulted.

Staffing Discrepancies and Risks

Inspectors found that of particular concern was the discrepancy between planned and actual staffing levels at RD&E, which poses risks to the safety of women and infants. Additionally, both hospitals lacked easily accessible arrival times for midwifery and medical reviews, potentially delaying essential assessments.

Trust’s Response to the Report

In response to the report, the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust expressed disappointment but also a determination to use the feedback as an opportunity for growth. CEO Sam Higginson emphasised the importance of addressing the identified areas for improvement to ensure that the needs of women, birthing individuals, and their babies in North and East Devon are met with the highest standards of care.

Medical Negligence specialist Clair Hemming comments:

“As a Devon-based law firm we are acutely aware just how important the North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) is for those expecting a baby. NDDH provides essential services to those resident in the North Devon area and has a wide geographical reach, many having to travel some distance already to reach it.   The RD&E is the next closest maternity hospital and now it too has been classified as requiring improvement.   This must be very worrying particularly for those in the North Devon area at a time of joy and when they should be avoiding additional stress and worry.   We really hope that the Trust will be able to rectify the safety concerns to ensure that generations to come can make full use of local maternity services in North Devon.”

How Tozers can help

If you or a loved one have been affected by the issues raised in the CQC report regarding maternity services, Tozers’ Medical Negligence team is here to support you.

Contact our legal experts

Company & Industry

Related Insights


Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy – A Parent’s Experience

Posted on 04th April 2024 in Medical Negligence

For many years we at Tozers have supported families affected by Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a type of brain damage which is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain before or shortly after birth. We assist families to bring a claim for compensation where their child has developed physical and/or cognitive difficulties. 

Posted by

Clair Hemming

Partner and Solicitor

The Implementation of Martha’s Rule

Posted on 22nd February 2024 in Medical Negligence

On World Sepsis Day 2023, I wrote an article raising awareness of this devastating illness, and shared the work being courageously undertaken by Martha’s parents, after Martha sadly and avoidably lost her life to sepsis at just 13 years old.

Posted by

Helena Campbell

Associate & Chartered Legal Executive