'Anxious wait' for families ahead of Shropshire hospitals maternity report

The initial findings of a major report into maternity care at Shropshire's main hospitals are being “anxiously awaited” by hundreds of families, a lawyer said today.

Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors currently act on behalf of more than 60 families affected by alleged failings in maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), and have spoken to another 250 families since the launch of the Donna Ockenden investigation in 2017.

The investigation is looking into more than 1,800 cases.

Kay Kelly, head of clinical negligence at Lanyon Bowdler, said the publication of the report’s initial findings was a hugely significant moment.

She said: “This initial report is to highlight the emerging findings of the investigation to ensure that, despite the large number of cases, there is limited delay in any necessary improvements being made to ensure patient safety.

“Donna Ockenden was originally asked to investigate 23 cases but as the investigation was publicised the number has apparently grown to 1,862 cases, and it has been a long wait for some of these families as some of the cases date back to 1979.

“We have been contacted by over 250 families since news of the investigation. We have successfully achieved admissions of liability and damages for a proportion of them, and continue to act and investigate for over 60 families who are all anxious to read Donna Ockenden’s initial findings.

“The allegations of poor care and management over such a long period have caused shock and significant trust issues in the obstetric care provided by our local hospitals.

“We consider it essential that individual children and their families are compensated where appropriate, that lessons are learned and permanent improvements made where necessary to ensure that trust in our local maternity units and hospitals is restored.”


Kay said her team would continue to work with families to ensure they received compensation and could be assured that improvements were being made.

She added: “As a local specialist clinical negligence firm, we have a national reputation in the field and are known for our client service, achieving high success rates and maximising damages.

“We have been in dialogue with SaTH on behalf of our clients.

“We will make every effort to resolve individual cases, and to contribute to ensuring that lessons are learned and training safe practices are implemented to assist rebuilding the trust of the community in their local hospitals.”

The inquiry was initially looking at 23 cases, although it emerged in July that this had risen to 1,862 cases.

A leaked report into the 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 SaTH.

West Mercia Police is also conducting an investigation to explore the alleged poor care and to see whether there is evidence to support a criminal case either against the trust or any individuals involved.

Louise Barnett, chief executive at SaTH, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, previously apologised for the distress caused to families and said the trust was committed to listening and working with the Ockenden review to ensure lessons are learned.

She said some progress in improving the standards of care for mothers and babies had been made but there was more to do.

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