Shropshire maternity scandal: Promise of change is 'meaningless drivel'

Bereaved parents who fought for an inquiry into maternity services at the county’s major hospitals says promises of change by its chief executive is "meaningless drivel".

Rhiannon and Richard Stanton Davies' daughter, Kate, died when only a few hours old after being born with anaemia at Ludlow Hospital on March 1, 2009.

It was only in 2018 – nine years later – that Heather Lort, the midwife responsible for her care, was struck off after a panel concluded her misconduct was so serious that it led to a loss of chance of survival for Kate.

Mr and Mrs Stanton Davies have spent the last 10 years fighting for accountability over the failings in her care, and the manner of the investigation into what went wrong.

They were integral to the government announcing an independent inquiry into maternity services at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust in 2017.

Since an interim report was leaked last week, which detailed a catalogue of concerns, the trust's interim chief executive Paula Clark has apologised to families, saying there is an acknowledgement of failures in maternity services and that patients have been let down.

At SaTH's board meeting on Thursday, she said changes were continually being made, but admitted it was one of the hardest organisations to change that she has ever been in.

But Mrs Stanton-Davies, of Ludlow, says she is not convinced.

She said: "On the one side she is saying we are not waiting for the report, we are learning the lessons. That's meaningless drivel.

"She also said it was one of the most difficult trusts to change that she has been in. "It's very telling that the trust hasn't changed and won't change.

"People have presided over this toxic trust for decades. They have attacked families who have attempted to speak out."

She also said she was 'frustrated' with the trust's chair Ben Reid.

During this week's trust board meeting, Mr Stanton received a personal apology from Mr Reid.

Mr Stanton had accused Mr Reid of “bullying” and dismissing him in the past by talking over him and encouraging other board members to do so as well.

The initial scope of the inquiry, being led by maternity expert Donna Ockenden, was to examine 23 cases, but it has grown to more than 600 going back 40 years.

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