Addenbrookes and The Rosie Birth Centre are among more than half of maternity units across England to fall short of expectations over the last year.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates health and care providers in England, inspected 101 NHS maternity units over the last 12 months.

Thirty-nine have been given a rating of “requires improvement”, while 17 have been deemed “inadequate”.

This means 55% of recently inspected maternity units fall below inspector's standards.

Addenbrookes and The Rosie Birth Centre in Cambridge join the many hospitals requiring improvement following their last inspection in April and May 2023.

Inspectors founds multiple problems at the maternity unit which is overseen by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, concluding that it ‘requires improvement’.

Among a number of issues documented, the report found there was not always enough staff to keep women and babies safe from avoidable harm.

Inspectors said: “The service did not have enough medical staff to keep women and babies safe. Women attending triage often did not have timely medical review because medical staff also provided cover for other units including the delivery suite maternity assessment unit. 

“Lack of medical staffing impacted on the support maternity triage received to maintain safe care for women and birthing people.” 

Addenbrooke’s and The Rosie Birth Centre delivered 5,573 from April 2021 to March 2022.

It was last inspected in 2016 following an inspection in 2015 which rated maternity services as ‘inadequate.’

The report added that although staff were not up to date with their mandatory training, maternity service training was comprehensive and “met the needs of women”.

The CQC also rated how well the service was led as ‘good’, stating that leaders had the skills and abilities to run the service, and understood and managed the priorities and issues the service faced. 

A spokesperson for Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Every member of staff in The Rosie Maternity Unit is dedicated to providing the best possible care for our patients.

“We are pleased that the CQC’s report reflects areas of good practice as well as those areas where we know we need to improve.

“Many of the improvements identified by the CQC are already being addressed through our comprehensive maternity improvement plan, and this work continues to ensure we deliver the high-level of care our patients rightly expect.”

Maternity services at Peterborough City Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital, both part of the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Truss, were both rated as ‘good’.

In a report published in June, the Trust was praised for “significant improvements” to the maternity service in areas including risk assessments and the storage of medication.

At Peterborough City Hospital, inspectors said: “Staff had training in key skills and worked well together for the benefit of women and birthing people, understood how to protect women and birthing people from abuse, and managed safety well.”

However, the report found that while staff had training in key skills and assessed risks to women, not all patients were seen in a timely way when arriving in triage.

The CQC said that as well as keeping “good patient records”, the maternity unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital controlled infection risk.

Although staff understood how to safeguard women from abuse, inspectors revealed that staffing levels sometimes put the safety of women and babies at risk.  

A spokesperson for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are extremely pleased and proud of the improvement and recognition of our Good CQC rating, awarded last year. We acknowledge the findings from the report and we are committed to make continual improvement to our services.

“We created an action plan which contained the recommendations shared by the CQC and I’m really pleased to share that the majority of our recommendations have been completed with the remaining two being worked on.

“We continue to work with our teams, service user groups, healthcare partners and communities to provide a high-quality maternity service.”