Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Families are demanding a review of Ockenden in Nottingham’s maternity services

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Families affected by alleged miscarriages at Nottingham University Hospitals have urged the chairman of the review at scandal-hit Shrewsbury Hospital to launch a new inquiry into the incidents.

A group of more than 100 families and individuals have written to Health Secretary Sajid Javid asking for Donna Ockenden to lead a new independent inquiry into cases of alleged failure in maternity care.

Ms Ockenden delivered a damning report last week following the major review of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust maternity scandal, which has left more than 200 babies dead.

The new review proposed by families would replace the current NHS-led inquiry announced in July 2021 thereafter LatestPageNews and channel 4 revealed millions had been paid out by the Trust over 30 baby deaths and 46 incidents of babies being permanently brain-damaged.

The NHS review, dubbed the ‘independent thematic review’, is led by local NHS commissioners and NHS England.

The families said they had no confidence in the current review process or those leading it and felt they had to voice their concerns now “if there is a chance of more death and harm to babies, mothers and families.” impede”.

They added that the current NHS review “moves with the viscosity of molasses”.

The letter to Mr Javid said: “There have been reviews in the past, nothing has changed. Forensic pathologists have publicly expressed concerns, nothing has changed.

“Real and effective intervention is required if families are to be protected. The thematic review has so far been less than effective, understaffed and moving with the viscosity of molasses. How can the public trust this process? The only answer is Donna Ockenden and a public inquiry.”

The NHS review has been running for six months and is due to publish a report later this year.

Families, supported by Switalski’s solicitors, said they had “no confidence” in the thematic review or the team leading it. They said they had raised “significant concerns” about the independence of the current review, which was commissioned by former Trust employees.

They also said not enough has been done to encourage verification or reach families, as hundreds have come forward in just the past two weeks.

The letter added: “This review currently has three clinical leads. The Ockenden Maternity Review employed 76 physicians. The current team is unprepared and lacks the experienced leadership to handle a review of this magnitude.

“When we consider that only 26 families have been spoken to in six months, how can the public have confidence that the other 361 families are not only being listened to, but well-directed conclusions are being drawn? It will either be rushed or drawn out while Donna Ockenden has the team and a public inquiry has final timelines. The affected families and the general public deserve this reassurance.”

According to a statement from the families, there have been 34 maternal adverse event investigations at the Trust since 2018. These include three maternal deaths, 22 babies who may have suffered serious brain injuries, four newborn deaths and five stillbirths.

A previous inquiry by the regulator, the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), previously gave the Trust 74 recommendations to improve maternity care.

The CQC previously rated the Trust’s maternity services as “inadequate” in 2020 and reportedly issued an alert in March 2022, raising concerns about an increase in stillbirths and midwives acting outside their jurisdiction over scan verification .

The senior physiotherapist Sarah and Dr. Jack Hawkins, who previously worked for NUH, are one of the families leading the appeal.

The couple have raised maternity issues at the Trust following the death of their daughter Harriet, who died on April 17 of complications related to ‘Misshandled Labour’.

Harriet’s death was caused by delays in realizing Sarah was in active labor – this took six days as midwives repeatedly told her not to go to the hospital. When she was finally admitted, an ultrasound revealed that Harriet was already dead.

There have been several incident inquiries into Harriet’s death and a final review eventually concluded that her death was “almost certainly avoidable” and the Trust has accepted liability.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it had not confirmed whether it would commission a new investigation, as requested by the families.

A statement said: “We take the patient safety concerns at Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust’s maternity services very seriously.

“The Trust is taking steps to improve services, but we are closely monitoring progress in improving the standard of care for mothers and babies.”

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