Shropshire baby deaths: Review appeals for staff to come forward

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image copyrightScience Photo Library
image captionA review is looking into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust since 2000

A review into maternity services where hundreds of mothers and babies may have been harmed is seeking staff testimony.

The review of services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTh), led by senior midwife Donna Ockenden, published an interim report last year.

It focussed on the experience of families and now Ms Ockenden wants to hear from staff "to understand exactly what did go on in maternity services".

She said she hopes to publish the next report by the end of the year.

Ms Ockenden was asked to review maternity services at SaTh in 2018 following a campaign by two families who lost their baby daughters.

Richard Stanton and Rhiannon Davies' daughter Kate died hours after her birth in March 2009, while Kayleigh and Colin Griffiths' daughter Pippa died in 2016 from a Group B Streptococcus infection.

image copyrightRichard Stanton
image captionRhiannon Davies, pictured with daughter Kate, campaigned for a review into maternity care

Her interim report, published in December, found mothers were blamed for their babies' deaths and a large number of women died in labour.

"The first report was very much focussed around family voices," Ms Ockenden said, and as yet no staff have been spoken to.

"Now we feel we're in a position to start understanding [staff's] perspectives of what will have gone on. Did they raise concerns?"

Ms Ockenden and her team launched a "staff voices initiative" and are seeking to speak to staff currently working in SaTh's maternity services and anyone who worked at the trust for the period of the review, which goes back to 2000.

image copyrightOckenden Review
image captionDonna Ockenden said the review had so far not spoken to hospital staff

She said conversations would be confidential and would not be shared with the trust.

"We can already sense that our work is making a difference on the ground," Ms Ockenden said. "Not only in Shropshire but across England as well."

Since the interim report was published, NHS England has committed to spending £100m improving maternity safety, while hundreds of senior NHS maternity and neonatal staff across England are to get "leadership training".

"It's hard work but it is a privilege to be in this position, to be leading a review," Ms Ockenden said.

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