Health Minister concerned over Governance structures to ensure safety in Maternity

7th September 2023

​Today the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel ('the Panel') questioned the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Karen Wilson, in a Quarterly Public Hearing.

The Panel raised concerns over shortcomings in Maternity Services. The concerns were echoed by the Minister and her Officers, who drew attention to the inadequacy of governance structures in place to ensure safety within the Maternity Department. 'The current state of Maternity Services is not acceptable […] which is why there is a particular emphasis in that Department to address all the things that have been reviewed or said, and to understand why things haven't improved.' The Maternity Improvement Plan is being implemented to look at these issues, alongside the Maternity Strategy which will encompass a long-tern vision for Maternity Services. The strategy is on track to be published in December 2023.

The Panel notes there are several strategies being developed that are yet to come forward, with some experiencing delays:

  • The Health Services Framework has been delayed until December this year. The Panel is concerned that there is a lack of clarity as to how the Health Services Framework and the Workforce Strategy will combine to feed into the Healthcare Facilities Program.

  • There have been further delays to the completion of the redevelopment of Clinique Pinel. It is now not expected to be fully operational until 10th December.

  •  There have been no improvements to the Mental Health Services waiting lists and times for appointments. There are currently 544 adults on the ADHD diagnosis waiting list, which the Minister attributes to both issues in staffing and the volume of cases. The Minister is looking to other providers to alleviate this backlog.

  • Work on the Primary Care Strategy has been delayed until the Health and Community Services Advisory Board is in place.

  • The Suicide Prevention Strategy is due to be published ahead of the scheduled target date of 31st December 2023.

  • The End-of-life Strategy is due to be published by the Minister 'in due course'.

  • The first round of public consultation seeking Islanders on areas for inclusion within the Women's Health Strategy has been further delayed. The Minister does not expect the second stage of consultation to finish until this time next year.

  • A draft of the Dementia Strategy will be ready towards the end of 2023.

  • The Cancer Strategy has been presented to the Minister over the summer and is currently being finalised. The Panel heard this includes plans to extend bowel cancer screening to over 50s and that the Minister is reviewing screening for lung cancer. The Panel raised concerns around communication of available screenings.

The Panel also heard:

  • 3 candidates have been appointed for Non-Executive Directors to the Health and Community Services Advisory Board, whose first board meeting will take place on 4th October and will be public. One of the Non-Executive Directors that has been appointed is currently a national lead for Primary Care.

  • There are concerns over 'teething issues' with the implementation of Electronic Patient Records that the Minister is keen to address.

Deputy Rob Ward, Chair of the Panel, said: "Attention has previously been drawn to the potential shortcomings in Maternity Services in Jersey. Although it is encouraging to hear that this is an area of continued focus for the Minister, we are keen to see that substantive and rapid measures are taken to ensure that governance within this Department guarantees a safe, high-quality service. We will continue to be monitoring the development of departmental strategies and invite the Minister to continue to provide us with regular updates to the delivery of these moving forward.'


A full recording of the hearing can be accessed here.

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