Shropshire Star

Jeremy Hunt says Shropshire maternity findings are 'utterly shocking'

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said it is "shameful" that the burden for forcing an investigation into maternity services in the county fell on grieving families.

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Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said it would be a mistake to believe what happened at Shrewsbury and Telford could not happen elsewhere

Mr Hunt MP, who ordered the inquiry into maternity services at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust in 2017 when he was Health Secretary, described Donna Ockenden's findings as "utterly shocking".

Addressing Health Minister Nadine Dorries in Parliament, he questioned why it had taken the efforts of Rhiannon Davies and Richard Stanton, and Kayleigh and Colin Griffiths, to ensure the situation was investigated.

He said: "This report happened because Rhiannon Davies and Richard Stanton, who lost their daughter Kate in 2009, and Kayleigh and Colin Griffiths, who lost their daughter Pippa in 2016, persuaded me that something needed to happen.

Rhiannon Davies and Richard Stanton

"But is it not shameful that we make it so hard for doctors and nurses in the NHS to speak out about tragedies they see and all the burden for change is left on the shoulders of grieving families?

"Is it not time to end this blame culture in parts of the NHS?"

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Mr Hunt pulled no punches on his thoughts about the findings in the report, and said that it would be a mistake to believe a similar situation could not arise at other health trusts.

He said: "Babies' skulls were fractured and bones were broken in excruciatingly traumatic births that would never have happened if mothers' wishes had been listened to. This is an utterly shocking report.

Donna Ockenden who is leading the review

"While much has improved in terms of maternity safety in recent years, does the Minister not agree it is time to stamp out the 'normal birth' ideology which says that there can be a debate or compromise about the total importance of a baby's safety, which should always be paramount, and the decisions on it should always be taken in consultation with a mother.

"This report says they had a clear impression that there was a culture in the trust to keep c-sections low. That needs to stop, not just at Shrewsbury and Telford, but everywhere throughout the NHS and the biggest mistake in interpreting this report would be to think that what happened at Shrewsbury and Telford is a one-off. It may well not be and we mustn't assume it is."

Mr Hunt has also asked the minister to investigate the use of the drug oxytocin during births.

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