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An acute trust chief has told NHS England it risks ‘levelling down’ safety in some maternity units by ‘disproportionately’ funnelling cash towards those most in need.

Trusts have been vying for their share of a £96m extra pot of money announced by NHSE in March to deliver ‘immediate and essential’ maternity improvements.

While the trusts most in need, especially ones on NHSE’s ‘maternity safety support programme,’ are understood to have got all the money they asked for, some units performing better have not.

The funding aims to address gaps in compliance with the requirements of the Ockenden Report, published last December, which looked into hundreds of cases of poor maternity care.

Wye Valley Trust has raised concerns about how this money has been allocated after receiving £500,000 less than it bid for. Chief executive Glen Burley told HSJ there is “the risk of levelling down the quality and safety of others” if additional funds are “disproportionately” given to trusts in difficulty.

His trust was not the only one to miss out – Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital Foundation Trust received £1m less than what they asked for.

NHS England, however, said it is “right” those units most in need are prioritised.

Constabulary’s care concerns

A report has revealed that Derbyshire Constabulary alerted the Care Quality Commission twice over its concerns about the care at Cygnet Views hospital, which provides care for female patients with learning difficulties.

Officers reported their worries after being called eight times by a patient.

The CQC has now placed the hospital, run by Cygnet Health Care, in special measures and rated it “inadequate”.

The CQC report, published yesterday, said: “Staff we spoke with said they were trained in how to use de-escalation techniques. However, two told us they were anxious as a team about using restraint. As a result, police were being regularly called to respond to incidents at the hospital by both staff and patients. 

“We found that in the last three months the police have been contacted 11 times, eight times by patients and three times by staff. Two of those incidents resulted in police being assaulted by the patient.”