The scheduled Q&A hosted by the Director of Midwifery at the Countess of Chester hospital was cancelled.

It was confirmed last week that Natasha Macdonald, Director of Midwifery was scheduled to host a question and answers session in which she would attempt to ease any anguish or anxiety in the wake of the damaging CQC report which was recently published.

Chester Maternity Voices Partnership, who were set to host the session confirmed the cancellation in a statement.

It read: "“We are disappointed to announce that the Countess of Chester Hospital have postponed this evening’s Q&A with the Director of Midwifery for reasons beyond our control.

"Chester Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) were keen to facilitate this opportunity to bring the local community and Maternity service providers together with the aim of reassuring pregnant families of the actions we know are being taken by the Countess of Chester Hospital to improve services.

"We would like to thank everyone who has submitted a question and assure you that it will be answered by the Director of Midwifery as soon as possible.

"Sadly, we are aware there is increased anxiety in our community following publication of the Countess of Chester Hospital’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) report last week, and we are doing all we can as a voluntary group to support efforts to resolve and minimise these distressing feelings.

"We politely ask that everyone joining us tonight keeps this in mind and supports our efforts to foster a respectful and calming environment with the wellbeing of our pregnant community in focus.”

Ms MacDonald said: “Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances the Q&A session scheduled for tonight will not now take place. I am currently arranging a face-to-face meeting between Chester MVP, Dr Susan Gilby, the Chief Executive of the Trust and myself to discuss the recent CQC report and to talk about how we can work collaboratively on our improvement plans and how we can best respond to, and involve, our services users.

"I would like to thank everyone who sent in a question – I will be answering them and sharing them publicly on the Trust website.  We will make a link available to Chester MVP and via our Maternity Facebook page.”

Susan Gilby, Chief Executive of the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Unfortunately the MVP Q&A session scheduled for last week could not go ahead as planned and we are now working to prepare for the rescheduled meeting between the Trust and Chester MVP to discuss the recent CQC report on Wednesday 29th June.


“We recognise that the CQC’s report will have caused concern among families, particularly those who are already using our services or are planning to in the future, and we have more work to do. In our Maternity Department, we have implemented and are continuing to develop new measures to ensure we consistently provide families with the safe and effective maternity care they have a right to expect. 


“These measures will allow us to build on the Trust’s positive outcomes in maternity services noted by the CQC. This includes the consistently compassionate care provided by the Trust’s staff to patients, the reduced observed rate for perinatal mortality at the Trust (for September 2020 to March 2021) and our own data indicating that maternity services performed in line or better than the Northwest Coast average for neonatal deaths, still births and babies requiring cooling for the period between April 2021 and March 2022.  

“It is vital that as a Trust we engage openly with our local community so we can work collaboratively on delivering improvements in our maternity services. I would like to thank everyone who sent in a question as part of the MVP Q&A – we will be taking time to answer these before sharing them publicly on the Trust’s website and making them available to Chester MVP via our Maternity Facebook page.”

There is however, optimism that the re-arranged meeting will be a success as Chair of Chester Maternity Voices, Katie Jones added: “We were disappointed that the Director of Midwifery cancelled her attendance at the Q&A event earlier this week, however we were pleased to be able to run an alternative session in its place, ensuring the local community had a space to discuss their experiences of Maternity services at the Countess of Chester hospital. Despite the last-minute changes, the evening was a great success.

“We are proud to work in partnership with the Countess of Chester Hospital and continue to ensure the voices of local service users are at the heart of maternity care as we seek to make local services provided during pregnancy and following birth the very best, they can be.

"We can only do this with the help of the community; therefore, we encourage everyone who has experienced Maternity services from the Countess of Chester Hospital in the last three years to share their feedback with us.

"This can be done using our Maternity experience survey or via email to”