Maternity campaigners protest outside Shrewsbury hospital meeting

The parents of two babies who died shortly after birth were denied access to a meeting on maternity care as protesters gathered outside.

Tuesday afternoon's meeting was to discuss the results of an internal review into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, with a report due to be published tomorrow.

Campaigners and their children gathered outside the Shropshire Education Conference Centre at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital with placards, with some demanding entry to the meeting.

Among them were Richard Stanton and Rhiannon Davies, parents of Kate Stanton-Davies who died in 2009, and Kayleigh and Colin Griffiths, parents of Pippa Griffiths who died in 2016.

Richard Stanton talked with police and security at the hospital who were there as some protesters had suggested "storming" the meeting on social media.

He also spoke to Simon Wright, SaTH chief executive, on the phone, but none of the protesters were granted access.

Rhiannon Davies said: "Prompted by an investigation Jeremy Hunt has launched into maternity deaths at SaTH following our direct request, SaTH recently chose to self-examine their own maternity record to see where opportunities to learn from avoidable harm and deaths have been missed.

"The findings of that self-examination are being revealed behind closed doors today to invited stakeholders.

"As the parents whose babies’ deaths led to Mr Hunt’s intervention and SaTH’s own self-examination, we are here today as stakeholders – and we peacefully and respectfully request access to this closed meeting, despite already being repeatedly denied access by the review’s author, Colin Ovington.

"Why is it too much to ask to be allowed to hear the findings before they are released to the media? We want to share our experiences with other stakeholders, and we want to help SaTH learn and above all else, we want to prevent further avoidable loss of life and harm.

"Today, we stand alongside those actively campaigning against cuts, and those campaigning for safer maternity care in the county – tragically, we know all too well what the terrifying reality is that they are fighting desperately to prevent."

Also protesting were maternity campaigners from Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry, over the repeated temporary closures of the more rural midwife led units in recent months due to staff sickness – which left Ludlow campaigner Alison Hiles in the position of having to give birth without a midwife last month.

Simon Wright said concerned parents had been invited to one-to-one meetings to discuss the findings and patient representatives from Healthwatch and the Shropshire Patient Group were at the meeting.

He said: “We are aware and understand that feelings are running high due to a number of reviews looking at different aspects of our maternity service, including our own internal review and the review commissioned by the Secretary of State to look into our processes in some cases where, tragically, babies have died.

“This meeting is an important part of the process of making sure we look at lessons of the past to ensure we provide the safest care possible for women in our care,” he said.

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