WEEKLY COLUMN by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie.

I KNOW many people in Stroud district will have watched the BBC’s Panorama programme this week about Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s maternity services. It sadly documented two baby deaths and separately the death of a mother at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. My heart goes out to the bereaved. It was extremely distressing to watch and it raised several issues around care, trust culture and staffing levels.

I have used the Royal Gloucestershire and Stroud Maternity Hospital during the births of my two children. The care I received was excellent. I have however read multiple reports about maternity care as I campaign on this nationally and the Gloucestershire services are presently rated as inadequate for safety.

Myself and my Gloucestershire MP colleagues are concerned about what the programme detailed, especially around a culture of not listening to those who repeatedly raised concerns about the standard of care of two midwives employed by the trust.

The trust is now under new leadership and I speak with the leadership teams regularly. It says it has learnt from what happened and put new measures in place.

I understand staff are seeing improvements.

People in Stroud district need to have confidence the maternity services they access here in Stroud or in Gloucester are safe.

There needs to be continued improvement of these services to regain that trust.

I know many families have a wonderful experience - myself included - using our local maternity services and being helped by the dedicated staff but when it is not the case, things have to improve.

The government has recognised the need to recruit more midwives. Here in Stroud the excellent maternity hospital is doing a great job but the post-natal beds are still not open. This is something I have raised in parliament.

I am also meeting with the minister responsible for maternity services Maria Caulfield to discuss the closed beds at Stroud and the Panorama programme.