Posted by Abigail Ringer, Associate
The Shrewsbury Maternity Scandal – The first official report due today
For anyone who has been following our blogs on the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust Independent Maternity Review, the first official report is expected to be published later today, in what is thought to have become the largest maternity scandal in NHS history.
The report is due to be announced in Parliament and journalists appear to be waiting with bated breath to convey the findings of the report.
Below is a little recap of the review and everything you need to know in advance of the publication:
Why was the investigation launched?
The investigation into Maternity Care at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust was launched in 2017. The inquiry was initially set up following a cluster of deaths at the Trust between September 2014 and May 2016. These included the tragic deaths of Ella and Lola Green, twins who were stillborn after a failure to read and act on their heart rates; Oliver Smale who died in 2015 and whose untimely death is likely to have been avoided if he had been born promptly by caesarean section; and Pippa Griffiths who passed away at just 1 day old following a delay in diagnosing that she had an infection.
The purpose of the investigation was to look into avoidable harm to mothers and babies under the care of the Trust, looking in particular at maternal deaths, still births, neonatal deaths and babies diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which is brain damage caused by a shortage of oxygen.
The investigation has been led by Donna Ockenden, senior midwifery advisor to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
What will the investigation tell us?
Although the full and final report will not be completed until next year, the preliminary report due to be published today should tell us the emerging findings of the investigation and the urgent recommendations for the Trust to improve the safety of their maternity care.
We know a little of what the report is likely to contain as The Independent obtained a leaked interim report from the inquiry in November 2019. The leaked interim report revealed that dozens of babies had died unnecessarily.
The largest maternity scandal in NHS history
When the review started, I do not believe that the final scale of the enquiry was ever imagined. Initially the review looked in to the care of 23 families who had suffered from avoidable harm under the care of the Trust.
On 21 April 2020, however, it was confirmed that the number of families involved in the maternity review stood at 1170 and the appeal to find further families affected by the scandal was ongoing.
What is the response of the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust?
Paula Clark, Interim Chief Executive at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust since June 2019, has offered her deep condolences to all the families who have been impacted:
“On behalf of the Trust, I apologise unreservedly to the families who have been affected. I would like to reassure all families using our Maternity services that we have not been waiting for Donna Ockenden’s final report before working to improve our services. A lot has already been done to address the issues raised by previous cases.”
Ms Clark also admits the Trust was too slow in implementing steps to improve maternity care 13 years ago when concerns were first raised.
What to do if you believe you are affected
The lives of families impacted by this scandal may be affected forever. Below are details of a couple of charities that may be able to provide support and advice:
Stillbirth and Neonatal Death (Sands) Charity
Sands provides support to anyone affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth. They offer support groups, access to trained befrienders and have a wide range of bereavement support resources available online.
Peeps HIE Awareness and Support Charity
Peeps provides support to families affected by HIE. HIE stands for hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy where there is a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Peeps offer buddy support, where you can be paired up with a mum or dad who has been through a similar experience.
Your child may be affected by life changing disabilities as a result of substandard care either at this Trust or another hospital.
At Royds Withy King we walk alongside families in their journey of seeking compensation for their child and in ensuring funding to provide the care, support, and equipment their child may need for a lifetime. Do get in touch with us to find out more on how we may be able to help your family.
If you have any questions about making a claim for an injury at birth, please contact our specialist medical negligence solicitors.
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