Shropshire Star

'Words will not be enough' say grieving families of Shropshire's maternity scandal

Parents of a baby girl who died have described harm to Shropshire Maternity Scandal victims as "a disgrace".

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An emotional Kayleigh Griffiths

Kayleigh and Colin Griffiths, whose daughter Pippa died in 2016 aged just one day from a Group B Strep infection, have insisted "words will not be enough" from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust (SaTH), and that action must be taken to improve maternity care.

Their comments came after the Ockenden Report, prepared by maternity expert Donna Ockenden, today revealed that at least 201 babies and nine mothers could have been saved if they had received better care.

Kayleigh said: "Just for me, the sight of the report and how thick it is, and how comprehensive it is, I think we want to thank Donna, and her team, and all the families for coming forward.

"It's so important that the learning is taken.

"This is 200-odd pages of harmed families. That's a disgrace that they haven't learned when we've told them what the issues were.

"So it's really important, and it's really important that maternity services up and down the country read this and listen to what families have gone through and the impact that's had on people's lives.

"Donna's set out very clearly what action needs to be taken to address this."

Pippa was born at the Griffiths' family home in Myddle on April 26 2016. Kayleigh spoke to the hospital trust's midwives to raise concerns that her daughter was not feeding and had brought up brown mucus.

Both Pippa and Kayleigh were eventually flown to Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, where Pippa confirmed dead.

Pippa Griffiths being held by her mother Kayleigh and sister Brooke, with father Colin

At a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing in December two midwives were found to have failed to recognise the urgency of a need for medical or midwifery attention for Pippa. The panel also ruled that one had effectively tried to cover up over her actions by failing to make a record of her conversation with Kayleigh at the time, and had then made an "inaccurate record".

The midwife, Claire Roberts, was struck off earlier this month, after it emerged that despite conducting an investigation into Pippa's death, SaTH took no action to make a referral to the NMC – which is tasked with ensuring nursing staff are safe to practice.

Asked at the publication of the Ockenden report on how proud she must feel to have come this far, Kayleigh added: "It's really difficult to comprehend."

Colin said: "It's bittersweet. It's an accomplishment, but it didn't need to happen.

"It shouldn't have happened in the first place."

"We visited Pippa this morning before we came, and we said 'this is what we've done for her'", added Kayleigh.

"It's just heartbreaking. There's so many stories, so many families here today."

Colin said: "Everyone's come together for this result."

"Last night, I couldn't sleep," added Kayleigh. "My anxiety was through the roof. I've suffered from PTSD. We've had to fight all the way along in this, so to finally be heard by Donna is a great achievement for all families.

"But I don't think we've been heard by the trust yet.

"That's the really important thing we need from this - that the trust need to recognise that words aren't going to be enough.

"Once we stop getting stories (which we've had) right up until today of poor care in SaTH, we're not going to be settled that any improvements have been made."

Reacting to the number of families involved in the scandal, she said: "There's so many avoidable deaths that they could have learned from."

Another woman, Julie Rowlings, lost her daughter Olivia after 23 hours of labour following a consultant's use of forceps. She said she wanted somebody from the trust to talk to her face to face about her case.

Pippa's story is one of hundreds of examples in the Ockenden report

"I would like somebody from the trust to sit face to face with me, and talk to me. They've never done that," she said.

"They've apologised, via media, they've apologised to all the families via media, but they've never sat down with the families.

"I want them to apologise face to face for what they put us through.

"I'd like them to apologise for ignoring what we were trying to tell them at the time. It would go a long way."

Reacting to the Ockendon Report, she added: "I am emotional today, because obviously Olivia was mentioned in Donna's speech, she's mentioned in the report. So I feel like after 20 years, my daughter finally has a voice.

"The thing I like about this report is it's not recommendations - it has to happen.

"So we need to be on top of it to make sure it happens.

"For every family out there, every family that's come forward, this is for them.

"Justice is coming. For every baby, justice is coming.

"If it gets people to question their care and to trust their instincts then it's worth it. But I can't see how this trust can ever get away with this again, because I do think families will fight them now.

"They maybe wouldn't have before, but they will now."

"There are families who didn't have the strength to come forward, maybe felt too much time had passed, or felt they just couldn't open those wounds up again."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons: "Every woman giving birth has the right to a safe birth and my heart therefore goes out to the families for the distress and suffering they have endured."

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