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The largest maternity scandal to ever hit the NHS has found that poor maternity care through The Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust led to 295 avoidable baby deaths or brain damage cases .

There has been catastrophic failing over nearly 20 years according to the inquiry led by maternity expert Donna Ockenden.  The final Ockenden report can be found here.

https://www.ockendenmaternityreview.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/FINAL_INDEPENDENT_MATERNITY_REVIEW_OF_MATERNITY_SERVICES_REPORT.pdf

Several mothers also died through failings in medical care.  There was an overzealous pursuit to guide mothers to give birth naturally rather than being offered a freedom of choice and where a Caesarean would have been a much safer option.

It is reported that The Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust didn’t perform their own investigations of misconduct properly were in a format not recognised by the NHS.  The Trust downgraded some investigations initially.

Of the 295 babies who died, it is likely that had they received appropriate care they would have survived.  There are 65 cases of Cerebral Palsy and severe brain injuries that are likely to have been avoidable.  It is also likely deemed that 9 women who died through labour, who would have reasonably been expected to survive if they had been treated correctly.

Numerous factors are at play including The Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s failure to learn lessons from previous failings, staffing pressures and shortages, aggressive forceps deliveries and reluctance to listening to mums.

The report has looked at cases involving over 1400 families.  There were repeated failings in care from one incident to the next.  “ineffective monitoring of foetal growth and a culture of reluctance to perform Caesarean sections”. Dozens of children suffered life changing injuries as a result of the failures.

The Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust is not the only Trust where questions have been raised about maternity care and similar investigations are being requested across the country.

If you or a member of your family have been affected by this scandal, or have concerns about maternity treatment from another NHS Trust please do not hesitate to contact us at Graystons on 0151 645 0055.  We will be happy to speak to see if we can help you in relation to suspected clinical negligence.. 

Please be assured there is no initial charge for getting in touch with us and if we are able to assist you in relation to a potential medical negligence claim, we may be able to act for you under a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win No Fee Agreement).

 

Sources                 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/shrewsbury-telford-hospital-maternity-scandal-nhs-live-b2046627.html

BBC Radio 2 (Jeremy Vine/Rob Sissons)

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An investigation to examine the standard of the maternity care services provided at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust was opened in 2017 following the deaths of 23 babies under care of the Trust. Sadly, following its initial launch, many more families came forward.

Subsequently, an independent review of maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust was launched. Donna Ockenden’s first published her report on 10 December 2020 which identified a significant number of failings by the midwives and obstetricians who did not demonstrate an appropriate level of competence on several occasions. The Ockenden Review identified 1,862 of individual cases where there were signs of substandard care which contributed to the death or caused serious injury to a baby and/or mother.

A copy of the report can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/943011/Independent_review_of_maternity_services_at_Shrewsbury_and_Telford_Hospital_NHS_Trust.pdf

In February 2022 Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust declared a critical incident for the second time in a week resulting in the Trust now temporarily pausing a number of non-urgent services.

On 23 February 2022, a BBC Panorama documentary aired which again focused on the maternity care at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust. It is reported as one of the biggest scandals in the history of the NHS where many babies have died whilst others were left with life-changing injuries following repeated failures in maternity care at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

Dr Bernie Bentick, a former Consultant Gynaecologist, who spent almost 30 years at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust says he told senior management several times about a deteriorating culture at the Trust.

The Royal College of Midwives also advised that there needs to be urgent action to address safety, understaffing and the poor cultures that sometimes arise because of unacceptable pressures on staff.

Donna Ockenden has confirmed that her second and final report out of the independent review of maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust will be published in full on 22 March 2022.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust declined to be interviewed for Panorama. In a statement it said:

“As a Trust we take full responsibility for the failings in the standards of care within our Maternity services. We offer our sincere apologies for all the distress and hurt we know this caused.”

If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered harm because of suspected clinical negligence, one of our specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to speak with you and advise you as to your options, including a formal complaint and a legal claim. There is no initial charge for discussing this with us and we will talk you through your options, including how to fund a case and the possibility of a no win no fee arrangement (conditional fee agreement or CFA).”

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According to the Metro online, an independent investigation has concluded following a 6-year fight from the parents of a new born baby, to look into the failings of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust.

The baby was born prematurely and weighed just 5lbs.  Once allowed home he suffered from symptoms which led his parents to return him to hospital.  He was initially taken to Western General Hospital and then transferred to Bristol Royal Hospital  He developed an acute respiratory illness deriving from the common cold and became so poorly that he struggled to breathe.  There was a two-day delay in him receiving antibiotics from doctors at Bristol Royal Hospital, and sadly he suffered a cardiac arrest.  He died two days later after his heart failed for a second time.

The investigation into the treatment has concluded there was a failure by the two Trusts to provide lifesaving drugs in time and in addition the Trust was guilty of a catalogue of failings.  The Trusts’ actions could also be perceived as a “deliberate attempt to deceive” after the family were concerned that the Trusts tried to cover up their failings.  The family has had to wait 6 years since his death to obtain the outcome of the investigation.

https://metro.co.uk/2021/10/05/nhs-deliberately-tried-to-cover-up-failures-when-newborn-baby-died-15365254/

Our thoughts are with the family, and we hope that they received the answers that they sought.

If you have concerns that you or a family member have received substandard medical treatment and injury has been suffered as a direct consequence, please feel free to contact Graystons Solicitors for an informal non-obligation chat on 0151 645 0055.  Alternatively, you can email enquiries@graystons.co.uk and we can arrange to call you.  We may be able to investigate a potential claim for you on a No Win No Fee Agreement.

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In a recent report published by the CQC, serious concerns have been raised about the progress being made in maternity services, highlighting that this has been “too slow” to ensure all women have access to safe and effective maternity care.

The report recognises that “the death or injury of a new baby or mother is devastating and something that everyone working in the health and care system has a responsibility to do all they can to prevent”, yet despite the greater focus on maternity services in recent times mothers and their babies continue to be at risk of serious injury and death.

With regards to learning from patient safety incidents, the report highlighted that in most services the staff were not always able to recognise what constituted as an incident or knew how to record such events appropriately. There were also issues in terms of capacity and pressures on staff in that the simply did not feel they had the time to report such incidents.

While acknowledging that it is vital that we have a system that is open, and that recognises, investigates, and learns when things go wrong, it is clear our maternity services still have some way to go in order to ensure that families get the truth, and safety continually improves.

Other themes identified to be hindering progression of maternity services included quality of staff training, poor working relationships between obstetric and midwifery teams, and hospital and community-based midwifery teams; a lack of robust assessment and a failure to fully engage with and listen to needs of local women.

Although rare, serious complications and maternity deaths have a long-term and enduring impact on families and their loved ones. The devastation caused in such situations should not be underestimated.

If you believe you have suffered because of negligence during maternity care and would like to discuss whether there are any grounds for a potential medical negligence claim with one of our medical negligence specialists, please contact us on 0151 645 0055.

To read the full report visit Safety, equity and engagement in maternity services | Care Quality Commission (cqc.org.uk)

 

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In January 2021, The Royal Free Hospital in London has been told by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that it must make immediate and significant improvements to its maternity services. This follows concerns regarding the death of a pregnant woman in February 2020.

CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector Hospitals for London, Nigel Acheson, said:

“We inspected the Royal Free Hospital’s maternity services following the death of a pregnant woman in February, as we were not given assurance that the trust had learnt from the incident and introduced systems to keep patients safe.”

Inspectors rated the service inadequate due to reasons such as:

  • There was no clear vision or strategy. Leaders could not give assurance that they understood and managed the priorities and challenges that the service faced. Senior staff did not show sufficient understanding of potential risks and issues.
  • Systems to manage safety incidents were not always reliable or effective.
  • There were no written records to show that the trust had apologised to families and patients when things went wrong.
  • Staff did not always display a good understanding of the people who use their maternity services.

The services are being continually reviewed. Treatment resulting in substandard  care and avoidable injury could mean you have a viable clinical negligence claim and be awarded compensation for the harm caused.

If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered harm because of suspected clinical negligence, one of our specialist clinical negligence lawyers would be happy to speak with you and advise you of your options, including a formal complaint and a legal claim. There is no initial charge for discussing this with us and we will talk you through your options, including how to fund a case and the possibility of a no win no fee arrangement (conditional fee agreement or CFA).

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Baby in maternity ward - Independent Review of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

A BBC report published today, following consideration of NHS reports has revealed that at least twenty maternity deaths or cases involving serious harm have been linked to North Devon District Hospital.

The report details that a previously unreleased 2017 review raised serious questions about maternity care at the Trust. The report also identified failings in the working relationships within the Maternity Department, finding some midwives were working autonomously and some senior doctors failed to give guidance to junior colleagues.

The report followed a 2013 review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists who investigated 11 serious clinical incidents at the Trust’s Maternity Unit, dating back as far as 2008.

In response, Professor Adrian Harris, Medical Director at North Devon District Hospital set out that sweeping changes within the Trust meant there had “progress” since the report was published and that the unit was “completely different” after recommended reforms had been effected.

If you or a loved one has been affected by medical failures or substandard care, you can contact Graystons for further assistance. We can also advise you on the range of funding options available to you, including whether you may be able to fund any legal action under a “no win, no fee agreement”.

 

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Baby in maternity ward - Independent Review of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

An independent review, led by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology and the Royal College of Midwives, into Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board maternity services was published on Tuesday 30th May. The review, ordered by Health Minister Vaughan Gething, followed concerns over the deaths of a number of babies and it makes disturbing reading.

It found that women had ‘distressing experiences and poor care’ and found eleven areas of immediate concern. These included: insufficient midwives who were under extreme pressure; frequently no consultant obstetrician on the labour ward or they were often difficult to contact; staff unaware of the guideline, protocols, triggers and escalations that are in place and a punitive culture where staff felt senior management did not listen to concerns  repeatably raised over a period of time.

A public apology has been issued and the Health Board fully accept the findings.

Sadly many women and babies and their families will have been affected by the failure in services leaving lasting effects on their lives. Graystons can help if you think you have been affected and assist in finding the answers that many of our clients crave when the medical care that they have received was substandard.