Inspectors found six serious incidents where babies were born in a ‘poor condition’ after a whistleblower reported concerns about safety in a hospital maternity unit.
The Care Quality Commission has rated maternity services at Basildon University Hospital as inadequate overall after an inspection in June.
The watchdog has issued a warning notice to Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the services, ordering urgent improvements to ensure mothers and babies are safe.
The department had been rated as requiring improvement following an inspection in February 2019.
The CQC said in a report that it identified six serious incidents in March and April this year as a result of ‘information received and a subsequent review of the trust’s incident reporting data’.
Babies were born in a poor condition and then transferred for cooling therapy, which can be offered for newborn babies with brain injury caused by oxygen shortage during birth.
The watchdog said it could not provide further information on the individual cases as it may identify those involved.
The CQC found several concerns including that high-risk women were giving birth in a low-risk area.
The trust said its services were ‘safe to use’ and apologised for not making improvements ‘quickly enough’.
Staff had begun to makes changes before the CQC inspection.