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Maternity services at Macclesfield District General Hospital rated as good

The Care Quality Commission has rated maternity services at Macclesfield District General Hospital run by East Cheshire NHS Trust good, following an inspection in December.

The inspection was carried out as part of CQC’s national maternity services inspection programme. This will provide an up-to-date view of the quality of hospital maternity care across the country, and a better understanding of what is working well to support learning and improvement.

Following the inspection, the service has been rated as good overall and for how well-led it is. The rating for how safe the service is has dropped from good to requires improvement.

This was a focused inspection, so CQC didn’t rate how effective, caring and responsive the services were. These areas retain their previous rating of good.  

The overall rating for Macclesfield District General Hospital has not changed following the inspection; therefore, it remains rated as requires improvement.

The overall rating for East Cheshire NHS Trust has not changed following the inspection; therefore, it remains rated as good overall.

Carolyn Jenkinson, CQC’s deputy director of secondary and specialist healthcare, said:

“When we visited the maternity services at Macclesfield District General Hospital, we saw hard working, compassionate staff, and leaders who were visible and approachable. The service had been closed for several years but re-opened six months prior to the inspection.

“It was encouraging that managers made sure incidents were investigated thoroughly and shared lessons learned. It was also good to see staff reporting serious incidents clearly and involving people and their families in investigations as well as apologising and providing compassionate information and support when things went wrong.

“During the inspection, we found staff used a nationally recognised tool to check any health deterioration of women, people using the service and their babies. However, we found staff couldn’t always identify those whose health was at risk of deterioration because risk assessments weren’t being completed quickly enough to allow staff to act on removing or minimising those risks.

“In addition, there wasn’t a dedicated, confidential space for the telephone triage area. Instead, assessments took place at a desk telephone on the triage ward meaning people could hear personal conversations if the triage beds were occupied. Also, there wasn’t an individual triage display board to help manage timings and prioritise treating people which could potentially place women and people using the service at risk of not receiving care when they need it.

“We have informed the trust where they need to make improvements and we’ll continue to monitor them to make sure this is done so women, people using the service and their babies are receiving high quality, safe care.”

Inspectors found: 

  • Staff had the experience to keep women, people using the service and their babies safe to provide the right care and treatment.
  • Leaders had the right skills and abilities to run the service and staff said they felt respected and supported.
  • All staff were committed to continually learning and improving services and were focused on the needs of people receiving care.
  • The service engaged with the local community to plan services and make improvements.


  • Not all staff had received training on how to recognise and report abuse. However, staff generally understood how to protect women and birthing people from abuse.
  • Staffing levels did not always match the planned numbers, potentially putting people and their babies at risk.
  • The service did not have a specific maternity vision for what it wanted to achieve or a specific maternity strategy to turn it into action, although the trust was working to develop this.

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