In what has been deemed the worst maternity scandal in the history of the NHS, a new inquiry has discovered that 295 baby deaths and brain damage cases were in fact avoidable at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.
The long-awaited inquiry which examined 1,800 cases was released this morning, recording that a total of 295 avoidable baby deaths and brain damage instances occurred between the years 2000 and 2019.
The report noted that several mothers died as a result of them performing vaginal births, when a caesarean section would have been the correct port of call. Also, as a result of the poor care in this hospital, many mothers and infants have been left with life-changing conditions over the years, including fractured skulls and broken bones.
Commenting on this shocking report, Maternity expert Donna Ockenden, who led the inquiry, said, “Throughout our final report we have highlighted how failures in care were repeated from one incident to the next.”
“For example, ineffective monitoring of foetal growth and a culture of reluctance to perform caesarean sections resulted in many babies dying during birth or shortly after their birth.”
“In many cases, mother and babies were left with life-long conditions as a result of their care and treatment.”
“The reasons for these failures are clear. There were not enough staff, there was a lack of ongoing training, there was a lack of effective investigation and governance at the trust and a culture of not listening to the families involved,” Ms Ockenden continued.
Our team of independent experts examined the maternity care provided to 1,486 families over two decades at the Trust. We found that the Trust repeatedly failed to learn from clinical incidents and failed to listen to families across the years.
— Donna Ockenden FRSA (@DOckendenLtd) March 30, 2022
“There was a tendency of the trust to blame mothers for their poor outcomes, in some cases even for their own deaths.”
“What is astounding is that for more than two decades these issues have not been challenged internally and the trust was not held to account by external bodies.”
Commenting on these horrifying findings, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said, the inquiry is a “tragic and harrowing picture of repeated failures in care over two decades”.
“I am deeply sorry to all the families who have suffered so greatly.”
“Since the initial report was published in 2020 we have taken steps to invest in maternity services and grow the workforce, and we will make the changes that are needed so that no families have to go through this pain again,” he added.