One of the Midlands’ leading clinical negligence experts has welcomed a report directing essential action to improve safety at Shropshire maternity services following an inquiry into baby deaths and alleged failings in care.
Tim Gray, lead partner with FBC Manby Bowdler’s personal injury and clinical negligence team, was commenting following a two year investigation into complaints about maternity services at the Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal hospitals in Telford.
He said: “The Ockenden inquiry’s initial findings, published December 10, say that 27 actions need to be 'implemented at pace' by the trust. Too many families have already suffered heartache and distress and in many cases they have been bereaved or now need to care for children with lifelong challenges because of inadequate care at these hospitals.
“We welcome the recommendations in the report to make maternity services safer and we know that the families will sleep easier, knowing that these actions will help prevent other parents from going through such traumatic experiences.”
The Ockenden inquiry is looking into more than 1,800 cases involving the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) trust – a number which has grown from 23 since 2017.
Donna Ockenden, chair of the review, said: “Today we are explaining in this first report local actions for learning and immediate and essential actions which we believe will improve maternity care, not only at this trust but across England so that the experiences women and families have described to us are not replicated elsewhere.
“With a focus on safety, the 27 local actions for learning and seven immediate and essential actions in this report are ‘must do’s’ that need to be implemented now at pace.
"What is very clear from these reviews and conversations is that for far too long women and families who have accessed maternity care at SaTH have been denied the opportunity to voice their concerns about the quality of care they have received.
"Many have experienced life changing events which have caused untold pain and distress, including sadly the deaths of mothers and babies; babies who have suffered lifelong health complications as a result of brain damage at or around the time of birth; whole families including mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and grandparents who have been left utterly bereft.”
Minister for Patient Safety and Maternity Nadine Dorries said: “My heartfelt sympathies are with every family who has been affected by the shocking failings in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s maternity services.
“I would like to thank Donna Ockenden and her team for their hard work in producing this first report and making these vital recommendations so lessons can be learnt as soon as possible.
“I expect the trust to act upon the recommendations immediately, and for the wider maternity service right across the country to consider important actions they can take to improve safety for mothers, babies and families.
“This Government is utterly committed to patient safety, eradicating avoidable harms and making the NHS the safest place in the world to give birth. We will work closely with NHS England and Improvement, as well as Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to consider next steps.”
Tim is an experienced personal injury and clinical negligence lawyer, with more than 20 years experience in this field. He is the Lead Partner within the department and heads up the firm’s clinical negligence team, in addition to managing other high value and complex multi track cases, often involving head and spinal injuries and cases of amputation. For help and advice on these issues Tim Gray will be able to help.