First report into maternity services at Shropshire's hospitals makes 'harrowing reading', says MP

The first report following a review of maternity services at Shropshire's hospitals makes "harrowing reading", an MP has said.

South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne outside Princess Royal Hospital in Telford
South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne outside Princess Royal Hospital in Telford

The inquiry, led by Donna Ockenden, was set up to undertake an urgent review of maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, following revelations about preventable baby deaths.

Its initial report included a number of actions which the team say should be acted upon immediately to improve maternity care at the trust and across England.

South Shropshire MP and former health minister, Philip Dunne, first became involved by taking up the case of Kate Stanton Davies, and her parents Rhiannon Davies and Richard Stanton, following Kate’s avoidable death in 2009.

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He said: “This first report makes harrowing reading.

"It was launched by then Secretary of State for Health in response to the trauma suffered by many couples in Shropshire over many years, and in particular the persistence of my then constituents who lost their baby in truly dreadful circumstances through a series of avoidable mistakes.

"I add my sympathy and gratitude to them and all the other families who have come forward.

"Donna Ockenden has made important recommendations for improvement both locally and nationally, to make improvements from issues raised through this review.

"Maternity services in Shropshire and across England must learn from this review and introduce rapid change where required to continue to improve patient safety.

"I have discussed this review with the new chief executive of SaTH and am pleased to learn the trust will respond promptly and fully to these recommendations.”

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard also welcomed the report and its call for immediate actions.

He said: "Every death is a tragedy, but even more so when it appears that they could have been avoided.

Bravery

"I am glad this report has offered key recommendations to build on the existing maternity changes which have taken place.

"It is vital that the bereaved get justice and access to information and are reassured that current and future maternity services will be safe.

"I will be pushing to ensure that subsequent reports are published as quickly and as fully as possible."

Councillor Shaun Davies, leader at Telford &Wrekin Council, paid tribute to those parents who have been able to share their experiences to support the inquiry, which is looking into 1,862 cases of alleged poor care stretching back decades.

"Their bravery and resolve is a tribute to their babies and loved ones," he said.

“It is important, now more than ever, that the trust listens and acts on the recommendations of the report, so families do not suffer such personal tragedies in the future.”

After the report was published on Thursday, Louise Barnett, chief executive at SaTH, apologised for the pain and distress caused to mothers and their families and committed to implementing all of the actions in the report.

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