Maternity worker tells of 'toxic culture' at Birmingham City Hospital

A maternity worker has spoken out about the "toxic culture" at a hospital after concerns among midwives were flagged up by the health watchdog.

City Hospital.
City Hospital.

Sandwell's NHS trust has been told to increase staffing and address "low morale and negative culture" on the maternity wards at Birmingham City Hospital following an inspection prompted by whistleblowers.

Midwives and other members of staff complained the actions of managers had created an difficult working environment.

A City Hospital worker contacted the Express & Star following the publication of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, saying she wanted the "truth to be heard".

Despite the concerns flagged up by the CQC, she felt the health regulator had not been critical enough of the trust.

Maternity services at the Winson Green hospital were rated as good overall, which said "most areas were providing care that met the needs of women and babies".

The hospital is run by the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust and is where its main maternity services are based.

Bosses have been told they must improve morale and the "negative culture" within maternity but added steps had begun to be taken to do this.

The staff member, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "It is thanks to the floor staff that the CQC rating was good, the sheer effort and reliance on the midwives both in community and inpatient that the hospital is safe.

"The toxic culture continues, the staff are regularly bullied and put down their effort is not recognised, some staff members can do what they please as long as they are liked by management."

The CQC said bosses had begun to address staffing needs by hiring 17 new nurses and midwives but that there was still work to be done.

It said the hospital had sometimes struggled to ensure there was enough staff to keep mothers and babies safe.

Mel Roberts, acting chief nurse at the trust, said: "The senior leaders recognise that there is more for us to do and are working with staff to improve the service.

"The women and babies under our care remain our first priority and to ensure they feel safe in accessing clinics we have provided alternative venues away from our acute hospitals since early on in the pandemic.”

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