Details of a leaked report into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust have been published today by the Independent.
The detail in the leaked report reportedly shows repeated failures in care and examples of lack of respect and compassion towards families. This included babies being referred to by the wrong name or as ‘it’ and families being told that their case was the only one of its kind.
The report covers the period from 1979 to 2017 at the Trust’s two hospitals, The Royal Shrewsbury and The Princess Royal in Telford. According to the Independent, the leaked details include the deaths of at least 42 babies and three mothers, as well as 50 babies who suffered permanent brain damage due to lack of oxygen during birth and 47 further cases of substandard care.
The scandal revealed by the leaked reported has been described as worse than the Morecombe Bay maternity scandal which revealed that 11 babies and four mothers had died in avoidable circumstances at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria between 2004 and 2013.
The independent investigation led by midwife Donna Ockenden was ordered by the Health Secretary in 2017, following pressure from two families who had lost their babies at the Trust’s hospitals. The scope of the investigation was widened last year and the two hospitals were put into special measures.
Sanja Strkljevic, clinical negligence solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, said:
“The scale of the tragedy and trauma that families have been put through detailed in the leaked report into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust is truly shocking. How many more of these reports need to be leaked for the Government to realise that so much more needs to be done to prevent children and mothers dying within an NHS which is being left to wither on the vine.
“It is clear there have been chronic failures in care and repeated failures to learn lessons. This is despite the then Healthcare Commission’s involvement in 2007 when assurances were given that improvements would be made to antenatal care and despite the Francis report of 2013 and the implementation of the duty of candour. The lack of improvement in care is an incredible indictment on the failure of those in charge to maintain the trust the public puts into our health service.
“It is imperative that families are provided with explanations as to why there were failings in the provision of care. It is equally important to know why the NHS’s duty of candour seems to have been wholly disregarded in a number of these cases, leaving families in the dark as to what happened to their babies.”