Patient and service user experience and feedback

Neonatal and maternity services – addressing concerns

It is important that the NHS listens carefully to the concerns of patients, families, and staff and has robust assurance and review processes in place for a safe neonatal system.

Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB is committed to learn and do all we can to help keep babies safe in the care of hospitals in our area.                                                                            

Our top priority is the delivery of safe and effective care.

Both the ICB and providers work hard to make sure services are delivered safely and we regularly review any issues with patient safety and learn from other organisations nationally.                      

What to do if you have a concern about your baby’s care

We encourage families to speak freely to the hospital team with any concerns that they may have, as well as to share their experiences with other parents of babies on their unit.

The NHS want everyone to feel safe and confident to speak up. If you have any questions or concerns about the care you are being provided with or you need to raise a safety concern, we encourage you to first speak to a doctor, nurse or manager involved in that care.   If that doesn’t resolve your concerns then you can contact the hospital’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), also sometimes called Patient Experience Team. More information at https://hertsandwestessex.icb.nhs.uk/patient-experience/patient-experience-1/2

If you would like independent advice outside the NHS service and would like support in raising your concerns, then you can contact POhWER who can help speak up for you. Find out more at: https://www.pohwer.net/  

We have a strong Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) to ensure delivery of high quality and safe care, and Maternity Voice Partnerships at each of our acute hospitals to ensure we are regularly listening to and working with our service users. As parents you can get in contact with this service via email or Facebook, more information at https://hertsandwestessexics.org.uk/homepage/18/hertfordshire-and-west-essex-local-maternity-and-neonatal-system

What we do to make sure everyone can raise concerns

All organisations in our area have processes and policies to ensure we are supporting and encouraging staff to raise any concerns they may have about the care being provided.

Staff are trained on these processes and external whistleblowing services are available if staff feel they need to use them. Our policies specifically state that the organisations will not tolerate any harassment or victimisation of anyone raising a concern and outline the support available to staff.

We also have the national processes for all our healthcare professionals through their regulators as well as the oversight of the independent Care Quality Commission.

Review and monitoring of patient safety concerns or incidents

Neonatal and maternity services are regularly reviewed by the ICB to ensure safe health and care. We ensure we engage and listen to our patients, families and staff in order to drive safety improvement.

We respectfully and compassionately respond to all affected by patient safety incidents. We have a strong approach across our local area to learn from patient safety incidents and are supportive in how we work with the organisations in our area to improve their services.

If you want to learn more about this patient safety framework visit: https://www.england.nhs.uk/patient-safety/incident-response-framework/