Next month, the final Ockenden Report will be published, revealing multiple instances of maternity failures at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.
In May 2017, senior midwife Donna Ockenden was appointed to lead the review and investigation into the serious failings at the Trust.
The BBC article makes an interesting yet distressing read. The article highlights the extremely tragic cases of mothers and their babies that were inadequately cared for, with the result being the worst imaginable. The families have continued to push for investigation and answers into what happened to them and to many others.
Ms Ockenden told Panorama that “these are amongst the most serious cases that we have seen in our careers”. Ms Ockenden initially began an investigation into 23 cases, but the review has now examined the care received by 1862 families; which just highlights the scale and severity of the poor care at the Trust.
Within the interim Ockenden Report, published in December 2020 it was found that caesarean section rates at the Trust were up to 12% lower than the England average for the period examined. The Trust had been praised for its approach towards avoiding unnecessary surgical procedures and promoting vaginal births. However, it appears that the bias towards vaginal births, led the Trust to dangerously delay necessary caesarean sections.
After the interim Ockenden Report, nearly £100 million was invested into maternity services in England. NHS England has also recently written to all health trusts informing them that they are not to limit the number of caesarean sections they offer to women.
The interim report found nine areas of repeated failure, including excessive use of forceps, misuse of a labour inducing drug, failure to escalate concerns to senior clinicians and a lack of compassion and kindness in the delivery of care.
It is important to remember the families at the heart of this investigation and the years of torment they have suffered in their quest to uncover the truth.
We await the publication of the final report and the response of the Trust to ensure that drastic action is taken to avoid such catastrophic consequences in the future.
If you need legal advice regarding failings at this or another hospital Trust, please do not hesitate to reach out to our specialist team. Call 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.