Maternity services at Gwent Healthcare Trust have been taken off special measures imposed after the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales highlighted an “exceptionally high” number of deaths.

The trust had been required to produce an action plan to address the concerns, and a follow-up report says that enough progress has been made to justify reinstating normal service.

A clinical director of obstetrics was appointed to drive through improvements alongside a director of nursing. Senior midwifery managers were appointed and changes were made to training and development initiatives to deliver more effective management.

The trust also appointed 22 additional midwives, staff from all maternity services produced a best practice document and efforts are being made to improve team working.

Senior managers from all disciplines are now working across sites and 24-hour maternity management on-call support ensures a consistent approach across Gwent. Steps are also being taken to improve communication with staff and service users.

HIW chief executive Dr Peter Higson said: “We will continue to keep a watching brief on maternity services in the trust to ensure that the further improvements required take place and are embedded.

“We will also be revisiting maternity services again in 2010, when an all-Wales follow-up review to the work undertaken in 2007 will be undertaken.”

Trust boss Dr Andrew Goodall said: “Gwent NHS Trust acknowledges the need to continue to work with our staff and the clinical governance support unit from the Welsh Assembly Government to consolidate the good progress that has been made.”