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Vital all lessons possible are learned as Donna Ockenden launches Nottingham maternity service review

The review into the maternity failings at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has been launched today. 

This will be welcomed news to families following the announcement earlier this year that Donna Ockenden, who investigated the maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, will now be looking into similar failings at the Nottingham Trust.

Irwin Mitchell represents a number of families concerned about their care in Nottingham as well as under a number of Hospital Trusts nationally. We are working to provide them with answers as well as access to the specialist support and therapies they require.

Paramount importance that review is comprehensive

Ms Ockenden has said the ultimate aim of this independent review is to make sure the performance at the Trust’s maternity service improves as quickly as possible and in a way that means those improvements are sustained.

Ms Ockenden goes on to say that as with the Shrewsbury review, this review will assess if cases of concern were adequately investigated by the Trust at the time, if the lessons for learning were the appropriate ones and whether the lessons were indeed learned and acted upon.

In a statement, Ms Ockenden’s team – which consists of around 60 practising NHS maternity experts from across the county, have said it was of paramount importance the review was comprehensive, leaving no voices unheard.

The review is expected to take 18 months.

What families have wanted

Families, who have called for an independent inquiry for years and who were paramount in securing this review, have welcomed its launch. They have also urged all families impacted by the maternity services at the Nottingham Trust to come forward and take part in the review. A mother who sadly lost her daughter due to failings at the Trust has said the following: “We need to do this, a team effort to get Nottinghamshire safe again for mothers.”

Prior to Ms Ockenden’s appointment in May 2022 to lead the review, a review was already under way. However, critics said its remit was too narrow and it was not independent enough.

Figures reveal more than 200 birth injury related claims

Following a Freedom of Information Act request, the BBC has reported that between 2005-06 and 2020-21 there were a total of 207 birth related injury claims against the maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. These included 36 in relation to cerebral palsy, 26 for stillbirth claims and 24 cases relating to brain damage.

In December 2020, the Trust’s maternity services were rated inadequate with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) finding “several serious concerns”.

Response by the Trust

Michelle Rhodes, Chief Nurse at the Trust, has said that the Trust was deeply sorry for the unimaginable distress that has been caused due to failings of its maternity service. Ms Rhodes goes on to say they know an apology will never be enough and they owe it those who have been failed, those they are caring for today, and their staff to deliver a better maternity service to the community.

The Trust have welcomed Donna Ockenden and her team to Nottingham and will work with them to achieve this.

Our conclusion

We only hope that all lessons possible are learned to improve the maternity services, and much needed answers are provided to all families involved. We continue to support families nationally but also campaign for much needed change, which has only been highlighted further as this review in Nottingham launches.  


We understand the sensitive nature of this review and the distress that it may cause. Please find below a list of helpful organisations which may be able to support. 

Child Bereavement UK

Sands | Stillbirth and neonatal death charity

Petals Charity | The Baby Loss Counselling Charity


Alternatively, more information about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise in supporting families affected by maternity care issues can be found at our dedicated birth injuries section.

A review into failings at a city's NHS maternity units has launched, with a call for affected families to come forward.

The review, led by midwife Donna Ockenden, will examine how dozens of babies died or were injured at the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) trust.”