THE head of Colchester Hospital’s midwifery service has spoken of her optimism for the future.

East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital, saw its maternity services rated as requiring improvement by the Care Quality Commission last year after it was found it did not always have enough staff to care for women and keep them safe.

But now action has been taken to recruit and retain staff within Colchester Hospital’s midwifery team.

Roslyn Bullen-Bell, director of midwifery at the trust, said it was committed to developing and increasing the resilience of its maternity workforce.

It has put in place a recruitment and retention midwife with a special interest in understanding barriers there may be to recruitment or anything leading midwives to want to leave.

Of its pool of 17 additional midwives who have been recruited from other countries, the trust says two have started this month and other colleagues from overseas will be starting work in the coming months.

It also has 23 trainee midwives who are about to qualify and who wish to stay with the trust.

Ms Bullen-Bell said she hoped new practises would help improve its CQC rating.

She said: “We are conscious of our recruitment and retention and that is one of our key aspects we have looked at.

“We have put in a recruitment and retention for midwives to be able to support these international recruits as well as adjusting to working within the UK.

“We have got 23 newly qualified midwives and all of them would like to stay in East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust.”

CQC said sustained periods of reduced staffing and issues with the management of the maternity triage system and the process for induction of labour impacted on staff wellbeing and their confidence in keeping themselves and women and babies safe.

Ms Bullen-Bell said: “We do see within the next four months we hope we will be at at that stage where we know it is all embedded and anyone can come back and see that sustainability.

“I feel there has been big change in the past six months and we are at the start of a good journey and we are about to go into the next chapter of it.”