More People Coming Forward To Report Maternity Care Concerns Involving Trust
Expert lawyers representing families of alleged negligence at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals are asking the Trust investigate setting up a special group actions scheme to ensure cases are reviewed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Law firm Irwin Mitchell is working with 21 people who say they have suffered as a result of failings in maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, stretching back decades. These include ongoing cases and new enquiries.
A leaked report into more than 270 cases - investigating stillbirths, deaths during pregnancy, death of newborns as well as birth injury cases - found a “toxic” atmosphere at the Trust.
It has also been revealed that the NHS has identified 326 cases of possible poor care following a trawl of the Trust’s medical records as part of a move to identify potential further patients affected.
Now with more families continuing to instruct medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care mums and babies received, the law firm has written to the Trust calling for a meeting to discuss the best way to process the volume of cases.
Irwin Mitchell is asking the NHS Trust to set up a co-ordinated scheme to investigate all legal cases. The scheme (or protocol) would allow complaints to be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible and in a consistent manner, for example by using the same cohort of medical experts agreed up front on all cases.
Irwin Mitchell has pioneered similar successful schemes with the NHS where individual or Hospital Trusts have been facing multiple claims. These have included patients affected by breast cancer surgeon Ian Paterson, orthopaedic surgeon Manjit Bhamra in Rotherham, gynaecologist Rod Irvine in London, and gynaecologist Rob Jones in Cornwall.
Irwin Mitchell is also currently leading on similar schemes involving urologist Manu Nair, who appeared on TV show Embarrassing Bodies, and in relation to colorectal surgeon Tony Dixon in Bristol.
Tim Annett is a partner and specialist medical negligence group actions lawyer at Irwin Mitchell supporting families who have complained about care they received from Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals.
Expert Opinion“As more detail continues to emerge about maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals the more concern there is among patients.
“We are continuing to hear extremely worrying first-hand accounts from families caught up in this scandal, the scale of which appears to be truly shocking.
“We are now investigating these concerns and are determined to establish answers for the families as quickly as possible.
“We have written to the NHS Trust today calling for a meeting to discuss the escalating situation and have invited it to investigate setting up a scheme to deal with all cases.
“We have worked with the NHS previously on similar schemes. Such schemes have provided consistency in terms of how complaints have been investigated and reassurance to those affected that their cases have been taken seriously. Through the NHS working with us legal cases have concluded more swiftly, allowing families to try and look to the future as best they can, and it has been possible to avoid the uncertainty, additional distress and cost associated with litigation.” Tim Annett - Partner
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An investigation was ordered into baby deaths at the Trust – which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford – in 2017 by then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Initially the investigation was to look into 23 cases but was expanded to more than 270 last year.
An interim investigation report found that at least 42 babies and three mums died while under the care of the Trust. More than 50 children had also been left with permanent brain damage when they were starved of oxygen.
It added that there had been a “long-term failure” to involve families in investigations into maternity deaths. Other issues included families being treated with “a distinct lack of kindness and respect”.
There was also a "long-term failure" to involve loved ones in serious incident investigations and families struggled to obtain answers.
Staff referred to deceased babies as “it” while others got their names wrong.
The report said the volume of cases that investigators are looking into "seems to represent a longstanding culture at this trust that is toxic to improvement effort".
Paula Clark, interim chief executive of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, apologised to families and added “a lot has already been done to address the issues raised by previous cases."
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