Shropshire Star

Shropshire baby deaths: Hospital trust 'ahead of schedule' on Ockenden recommendations

Hospital bosses say they are ahead of schedule in delivering the required ‘actions’ from the Ockenden report into the Shropshire baby deaths scandal.

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The board of Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS has discussed progress on the recommendations in the Ockenden report.

The Ockenden Inquiry into maternity care at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) was released last year and found that hundreds of families were failed in its care.

Maternity expert Donna Ockenden led the inquiry and concluded that at least 201 babies and nine mothers could have been saved if they had received better care at the trust.

There were also 106 cases involving cerebral palsy and brain damage which were found to have the same concern.

The review which mainly covered the period from 2000 to 2019 made 15 recommendations for maternity care across Shropshire.

Amongst the Ockenden report findings were poor investigations into deaths and ‘poor working relationships’ between midwifery and obstetric staff.

The trust was found to have failed to follow national guidelines in a number of areas including fetal heart rate monitoring, maternal blood pressure, management of gestational diabetes, and resuscitation.

As part of the Ockenden Inquiry there were 210 ‘actions’ for the trust to deliver.

A report provided to the SaTH’s board meeting on Thursday showed the progress they were making.

The report showed that 148 actions had been ‘evidenced and assured’, 24 were ‘delivered, not yet evidenced’, and 38 were ‘not yet delivered’.

Some of the actions ‘not yet delivered’ are classified as ‘de-scoped actions’ due to having external dependencies and requiring national action to resolve them.

Hayley Flavell, executive director of nursing, presented the progress report to the board and said that they were ‘above trajectory which is really positive’.

Chair of the trust, doctor Catriona McMahon, said that it was always part of the strategy to be ahead of the schedule.

The report concluded: “The work to address the outstanding actions from both ‘Ockenden’ reports continues with energy and commitment, all with the objective of improving care for women and families sustainably and providing a better working environment for staff.”

Mrs Flavell also highlighted that over 150 people had attended their first maternity services open day since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We had some really positive news that the maternity team had an Open Day when community came and visited the unit and had tours of the unit,” Mrs Flavell added. “There are plans to do that on a regular basis.”

Earlier in their board meeting the trust also heard about the maternity services’ success in retaining staff and that there are currently no staff vacancies.

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