The investigation into maternity care at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust is now reviewing 1,862 cases, it was revealed today.
Donna Ockenden, Chair of the Independent Maternity review into care at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, confirmed that the total number of family cases the review team is looking at had risen.
The rise in cases follows an ‘Open Book’ review in 2018 which largely focused on electronic records, a call for families to come forward and a further search of paper records identified a further 496 families, to bring the total number of cases investigated to 1,862.
Donna Ockenden said: “The Trust have worked closely with the review team throughout this process and have provided us with all requested information. I would like to thank them for all the work undertaken to reach this point. By working together we have sadly identified a further 496 families as part of the review, who I am writing to this week.
“These additional families will be written to telling them that their maternity care at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust has been referred to the independent review team. The letters also provide information to enable families to make a choice as to whether they want their care to be reviewed by the independent team.”
The Independent Maternity review was commissioned by Jeremy Hunt in 2017, when he was the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, following concerns raised by the parents of Kate Stanton-Davies, who died shortly after birth in 2009 and Pippa Griffiths, who died just after she was born in 2016.
Efforts focusing on completion of clinical reviews
Efforts are now focusing on the completion of clinical reviews by the independent maternity review team to enable the final report to be published.
Donna Ockenden explained: “It’s now really important that we focus our efforts on getting all clinical reviews completed so that we can make meaningful recommendations to improve services and give families the answers they have asked for. We intend to have initial, emerging recommendations for maternity services published at the end of the year.
“In order to give ourselves the time to write the final report, any new cases that come to light from now on will need to go directly to the Trust, for them to consider, rather than them coming to the maternity review team.”
Donna added: “I have made a commitment to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care that we will undertake our work with the care and the independence it deserves and we will publish the final report as quickly as we can. I want to assure families that their experiences are important to us and that our independent team of midwives and doctors continue to ensure that family voices remain central to everything we do.”
Trust says it’s committed to listening
In an open letter, Chief Executive of The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust,
Louise Barnett said:
“You will, of course, be aware that our Maternity Services have been under the spotlight for some time. I know that our standards of care have fallen short for many families and I deeply apologise for this.
“There is no doubt that this continues to be a difficult and painful experience for many families and I am truly sorry for their distress. I recognise that we should have provided far better care for each and every one of these families at what was one of the most important times in their lives. We know that we have let them down.
“I am very aware that, for these families, words will never be enough and what they want to see is evidence of real improvement at the Trust. This is why we are committed to listening to them and to working with Donna Ockenden’s Review to ensure lessons are learned and we have a service which the community and our patients can trust.
“We have made some progress in improving the standards of care for mothers and babies and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) now rates our Maternity Services as ‘Good’ across three of the five standards (Caring, Effective and Responsive). However, we are rated as ‘requires improvement’ for the other two standards (Safe and Well-led). We recognise that we still have a long way to go.
“One of the things we have learned is that we must be better at listening to everyone who uses our services. We will work harder at this and create more opportunities for families to tell us about their experiences, allowing us to make positive, clear and tangible improvements, based on what we learn.
“In the meantime I want to reassure you that we are working hard to deliver the high quality Maternity Services that the people in our communities rightly deserve.”
The open letter can be read in full here.
Families who wish to raise a concern about the care they have received, should do so directly with the Trust by contacting: email@example.com or by phone to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01952 641222 extension 4382.
In June, West Mercia Police confirmed it had launched an investigation into claims made about maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust.
The investigation is exploring whether there is evidence to support a criminal case either against the trust or any individuals involved.