“Every woman giving birth has the right to a safe birth” says Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In May 2017, senior midwife Donna Ockenden was appointed to lead the review and investigation into the serious failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. Her report found that there were repeated failures at the Trust. Mothers had even been blamed for their babies’ deaths, grieving parents’ concerns were not listened to, and deaths were not investigated.
The review examined almost 1,600 cases at the Trust.
Distressingly, the report found that 201 babies could have survived had the Trust provided better care. This figure relates to 70 neonatal deaths and 131 babies that were stillborn.
The Trust failed to investigate the deaths and as such, they did not improve or learn from their failings. It was found that important clinical information was kept on post-it notes which were then put into the bin by cleaners. There was a culture of bullying so that concerns could not be freely raised and an emphasis on ‘natural births’ and the need to avoid caesarean sections.
Ms Okenden reported that the reasons for the failures are “clear”. They are:
Not enough staff
A lack of ongoing training
A lack of effective investigation
Governance at the trust
A culture of not listening to families involved
Between 2011 – 2019, 40% of stillbirths and 43% of neonatal deaths did not even have an investigation. It was also found that serious incidents were “inappropriately downgraded”.
The review and report come only after grieving families continued to push for investigation and answers after being ignored for so long. The families have faced years of torment in their quest to uncover the truth and now the Trust must be held accountable for the unimaginable pain and distress their failings have caused.
There is an ongoing investigation as to whether there is enough evidence to support a criminal case against the Trust or any individuals involved.
If you need legal advice regarding failings at this or another hospital Trust, please do not hesitate to reach out to our specialist team. You can contact us in confidence today on 0845 287 0939 or via email through our online contact form.