Warning issued to baby death hospital

Joshua Titcombe
Image caption An inquest heard more should have been done to save Joshua Titcombe's life

The NHS trust at the centre of a police investigation into baby deaths has been issued with a rare warning notice by the Care Quality Commission watchdog.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust runs Furness General Hospital where Joshua Titcombe died at nine-days-old in October 2008.

The CQC issued a highly critical report into its maternity services on Friday.

Police later said they were investigating the deaths of other babies, as well as Joshua's.

It is not yet clear how many deaths they are looking at.

The CQC's warning notice details the actions the trust must carry out to improve services and a deadline by which improvements must be made.

'Complex investigations'

An inquest in June ruled Joshua died of natural causes but that midwives had repeatedly missed opportunities to spot and treat a serious infection.

Coroner Ian Smith said staff had not listened to the baby's parents and had failed to record proper notes and spot that the baby was becoming seriously ill.

The inquest heard that despite concerns raised by his parents, midwives did not involve a doctor for some time.

It also heard that had the baby been given antibiotics at birth, there would have been at least an 80% chance of recovery.

Speaking at the time, his father James said the inquest had been "thorough" and this would help the family "move on".

The trust admitted Joshua had been "let down".

A statement from Cumbria Police issued on Friday said: "Cumbria Police is continuing an investigation into a number of deaths that occurred after mothers and infants received care at the maternity unit in Furness General Hospital.

"The investigation began following the death of Joshua Titcombe and detectives have now widened their investigation to include a number of other deaths.

"The enquiries are detailed and complex so it is too early to determine exactly which of these cases, or how many others, the investigation may include as it progresses."

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