AN investigation into the reasons why a pregnancy care service fell into administration is still ongoing – close to three years on.

It is almost three years since One to One Midwives collapsed in July 2019 while owing Warrington Hospital more than £1million.

With a shop on Sankey Street in the town centre, the service proved popular with Warrington women preferring a home-birth experience rather than a hospital-led pregnancy.

The community midwifery service’s collapse came as a shock to many, especially the thousands of women in the north west to whom it was providing pregnancy advice.

Set up in 2010, it was contracted to provide care on the NHS for women who did not want a hospital-led pregnancy.

A woman could get her scans and tests done at the Sankey Street shop and be assigned the same private midwife for the entirety of their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period.

Mums would give birth at home under the care of a One to One midwife.

However, the Warrington Guardian revealed in July 2020 that the company racked up millions of pounds of debt after not paying NHS bills from the outset.

When a woman in their care experienced a complication or illness, they were sent to A&E departments across the north west, often without their medical forms or information.

Maternity units in Warrington, St Helens, Liverpool, Chester, Mid Cheshire and Wirral then took over the woman’s care and sent invoices to One to One Midwives for the cost of treatment.

These bills were often not paid however, and hospitals were left with outstanding debts of more than £2.6million.

Warrington Hospital took over the care of hundreds of pregnant women within days following the collapse of One to One Midwives.

Warrington Guardian: Warrington HospitalWarrington Hospital

It has been left with bills of more than £1million from the failed firm, most of which (more than £800,000) was for the failure of One to One to pay the bill for services carried out at the hospital.

This could be scans, or treatment a mother or child needed following or during a home birth. The other £300,000 was to cover the costs after the collapse.

Simon Constable, chief executive of Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said in July last year: “We can confirm that the debt owed to this trust by the collapsed One to One Midwives is £877,691.

“We moved swiftly to accommodate those women who were left without midwifery support with 48 hours’ notice, some of whom gave birth with us almost immediately and we were able to support their personal birth plans as far as clinically possible.

“Feedback from women who transferred to the trust has been uniformly positive.

“We were able to employ some of the midwives who were left without jobs, and who are continuing happy and fulfilling careers with us.

“Beyond this we are unable to provide further comment as there is a formal investigation under way.”

NHS Wirral CCG was the lead commissioner for this service and therefore represented the position of all NHS commissioners contracted with One to One (North West) Limited.

A spokesman for NHS Wirral CCG said: “An independent review into the circumstances that led to the organisation going into administration is ongoing and we will await the outcome of that work to ensure any further actions required are implemented appropriately.”

The independent inquiry was commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement North West Region.

The Warrington Guardian approached the public body for an update on the progress of the inquiry.

In response, a spokesman for the NHS in the north west confirmed the report was ‘still ongoing’, with no timescale given for when it is likely to be complete.