Staff 'afraid to question care' at Shropshire baby death trust

By Michael Buchanan
Social affairs correspondent, BBC News

image captionThere had been a "bullying, intimidatory culture" at the trust, a former nurse has claimed

Junior staff at a health trust undergoing a review into its maternity care were frightened to raise concerns, a former nurse has claimed.

The nurse, who worked in the maternity department at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust for a decade, said colleagues often did not ask questions about the care patients received.

An independent review into a series of baby deaths and injuries at the trust is looking at more than 100 cases.

The trust said its services are safe.

The former nurse told the BBC there had been a "bullying, intimidatory culture" at the trust for a number of years, with junior staff frightened to raise concerns or questions for fear of being labelled troublemakers.

She said: "Depending on who the senior nurse was on that day, would depend on how comfortable you felt in asking questions about the care.

"In the end they will stop asking questions and that's when you will get problems."

image captionJulie Hughes says no investigation into the death of her daughter in 2002 took place

In 2002, Julie Hughes' daughter Elisha died at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital following a forceps delivery.

She said a failure to act on signs that her baby was in distress led to her death.

"I can remember seeing the forceps and shouting 'no, no, no'. Forceps used, there's no cry. I know she's dead. I held her, said goodbye and went home empty-handed."

She said there was no investigation into what had happened.

image captionAndrea Bates has been left with ongoing health issues following the birth of her daughter in 2015

Andrea Bates also underwent a forceps delivery when daughter Eva was born at the trust in 2015.

She said doctors refused her request for a caesarean delivery when labour wasn't progressing.

She told the BBC she was left with an open wound for nine months, has nerve damage in one leg and ongoing incontinence problems.

She said: "I'm upset that I'm not the only person this has happened to."

'Deeply sorry'

Trust chief executive Simon Wright, who has been in post since 2015, said despite calls to step down over the ongoing maternity problems, he will not be resigning.

"I want to take the opportunity once again to say that for any parent, any mother, who's had any issues, please come and talk to the organisation," he said.

"We want to be able to make sure that we're taking that learning on board, and we're deeply sorry for any harm that has occurred to any baby in our organisation over the last 20 years."

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