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Shropshire hospital bosses asked to approve £5 million fund to improve maternity care

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

Health chiefs will be asked to approve £5 million in funding to bring forward further improvements in maternity services at Shropshire's hospitals.

An independent inquiry is looking at more than 900 cases surrounding allegations of poor maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) over the past 40 years.

Meanwhile, there are plans to permanently end births at rural maternity units in the county, but the public are yet to have their say in a consultation.

Hospital bosses say some improvements have been made in maternity care and SaTH's chairman Ben Reid announced last month that an independent panel will be set up to oversee further work to improve services.

The trust says it has taken on feedback from Donna Ockenden, the maternity expert leading the independent review, and has drawn up a list of seven areas which need action.

At a meeting on Thursday, the trust's board will be asked to approve £5 million in funding to bring forward improvements over the next five years.

In a new report to the board, Mr Reid writes: "The maternity oversight committee received the independent maternity review and service improvement programme report.

"The paper provided details of what resource is required for the women’s & children’s care group to provide a programme team to coordinate the delivery of all aspects of the improvement programme.

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"It is proposed that the team will require five years to deliver all of the work identified in the independent review, this will be a cost pressure of £1 million per year, total cost £5 million.

"The board are asked to support this and approve funding."

A leaked report into the Ockenden inquiry last year 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.

The inquiry was launched by the Government in 2017, following concerns raised by families, and was initially looking at 23 cases.

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The number of cases have grown as more families have come forward and it is thought the inquiry could publish its findings in October.

It emerged earlier this month that the trust would have to repay almost £1 million which it received from a maternity incentive scheme, following an "incorrect submission".

The trust was offered the money after certifying it had met the criteria of the scheme, which aims to improve maternity care and is run by NHS Resolution.

It happened in 2018, just weeks before the trust was rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission.

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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