More families come forward in Shropshire maternity inquiry

Media caption,
Family call for police to investigate hospital trust

More families have come forward with concerns about maternity care at a hospital trust being investigated over multiple baby deaths.

A catalogue of maternity failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust were contained in a report leaked to the Independent on Tuesday.

Rhiannon Davies, who campaigned for an inquiry after her baby's death, said 25 families had come forward overnight.

Solicitors Lanyon Bowdler said it had also received 16 inquiries.

The NHS declined to comment.

Image source, Richard Stanton
Image caption,
Rhiannon Davies campaigned for an independent inquiry after her baby, Kate, died in 2009

One mother has told the BBC she intends to speak to the Ockenden Review to get justice for her daughter who died in 1999. The 37-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, said it was the first time she had spoken about her experience.

She said she had a bleed early in her pregnancy and suffered with extreme morning sickness. The now mother-of-three said she felt concerns about her pregnancy were ignored before she lost her daughter at 20 weeks at Telford Princess Royal and a lack of support afterwards led to mental health problems.

"They should have raised a few queries. If they had listened to me, I don't think I would be telling this story," said the woman, who now lives in Staffordshire.

"I think they thought I was a silly girl who didn't know. It was my first pregnancy so I had nothing to base it on. I don't know if they looked into my treatment 20 years ago, I thought this is finally my chance to have an input.

"I hope other families also come forward."

Image caption,
Donna Ockenden said the leaked document appeared to be an internal status update as of February 2019

An independent inquiry was launched in 2017 after then health secretary Jeremy Hunt launched an investigation into avoidable baby deaths at the trust, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford Princess Royal.

The probe is ongoing and led by maternity expert Donna Ockenden. Its initial scope was to examine 23 cases but this has now grown to more than 270, covering the period from 1979 to the present day.

The leaked report by Mrs Ockenden described a "toxic" culture within maternity care at the hospital trust.

It revealed some children were left disabled, staff got the names of some dead babies wrong and, in one case, referred to a child as "it".

Image source, Tasha Turner
Image caption,
Tasha Turner and partner Jacob's baby Esmai died in 2013 at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Families who lost children at the trust said hearing details from the report was "horrifying".

Tasha Turner, whose daughter Esmai died four days after birth at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in 2013, said she had met Mrs Ockenden as part of the review.

Ms Turner said she had been assured at the time there was no cause for concern after she had a Caesarean at 36 weeks. But she was later told Esmai had lactic acidosis - a build-up of lactic acid in her body - and had been advised to remove life support.

"It has had a big impact on my life," said the 26-year-old. "I just want to get justice for [Esmai], because that is what she deserves."

Image caption,
The trust runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford

The trust has apologised to families and said a lot has already been done to address the issues.

It is not yet known when the final report from the Ockenden Review will be published.

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