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Shropshire hospital boss: 'This is one of the hardest organisations to change that I have ever been in'

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | Health | Published:

The boss of the trust running Shropshire's major hospitals told members of its board that it was "one of the hardest organisations to change that I have ever been in".

Paula Clark

Paula Clark has been a chief executive in the NHS for 20 years and took up the role of interim CEO of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) in July.

At a meeting of the trust board yesterday, she said there was an acknowledgement of failures in maternity services and that patients have been let down.

It comes after a leaked report into an independent inquiry, led by maternity expert Donna Ockenden, last week revealed a catalogue of concerns and that dozens of babies and mothers are thought to have died or been left disabled due to poor care at the trust, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital.

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An independent inquiry, ordered by the government in 2017, is looking into the concerns stretching back 40 years.

Ms Clark told the meeting yesterday: "I think we need to acknowledge the events these families have been through is life changing and will be with them for the rest of their lives.

"We have made changes and continue to make changes. We also have to acknowledge we have further to go."

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She said the trust had increased staffing, invested heavily in training, as well as looked at other challenges.

Ms Clark also told the board that SaTH is working very closely with Donna Ockenden and was not waiting for the inquiry to be completed before working to improve services.

She said: "We can't turn the clock back but we can apologise and we can genuinely learn.

"There's a real acknowledgement around the fact we have service failings and we could have done better."

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She said the trust had not moved as fast as it should have done but offered assurances that "we are going to move it further and faster".

Ms Clark spoke about the need to get the 'ground conditions' right to ensure correct staffing levels, that staff have the right equipment and environment to work in.

But she also admitted: "This is one of the hardest organisations to change that I have ever been in."

Chair of the trust, Ben Reid, told board members and the public that he wanted people to have confidence in services and that there has been "a significant shifting of the gears for driving this change"

The inquiry, which is now looking at more than 270 cases from 1979 to the present day, was ordered by the government in 2017.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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