Medical Negligence Lawyers Supporting Families Affected By Care Issues At Trust
Specialist lawyers representing families affected by one of the biggest maternity scandals in history are calling for “meaningful and lasting change” following a long-awaited report into care failings.
The full Ockenden Review report into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals has today been published following a five year investigation.
Ockenden Review findings
It found that 201 babies could have survived if they had received better care. Mothers also died or suffered injuries because of failures in care.
The report identified 60 areas where care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust should improve.
Not enough staff training, deaths being dismissed or not investigated properly and a culture of not listening to families were among the issues identified in the report.
Lawyers supporting families affected by maternity care issues
Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are representing a number of families affected by care issues at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals. These include families whose babies died or who have been left severely disabled after suffering birth injuries.
Expert Opinion“The full findings of this report really make for stark and harrowing reading. It’s almost unbelievable that problems at the Trust appeared to be allowed to manifest for so long.
“But the numbers contained in the report aren’t just statistics. Behind each case is a human story of how families have been left absolutely devastated by medical errors. Many of these avoidable mistakes have led to the deaths of babies or incredibly serious birth injuries, which have left people severely disabled and needing a lifetime of specialist care.
“Of particular concern is that there was a lack of training, ineffective investigations which failed to ensure lessons were learned and not listening to families’ concerns.
“Sadly and more worryingly what happened at Shrewsbury and Telford doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident. High profile maternity scandals stretching back almost 20 years from Morecambe Bay to more recent concerns around maternity care including at hospitals in East Kent, Sheffield and Nottingham, all point to widespread and deep-rooted problems nationally. This is also evidenced in the number of first-hand accounts we hear from families affected by maternity care.
“We anticipate that other people will now have further questions and concerns following publication of this report
“This is an incredibly upsetting day for the families we represent but also a day that needs to lead to decisive and lasting change.
“Too often in the past we’ve seen reviews and investigations into hospital care make recommendations which have taken years to implement, if at all. Many problems have also only been identified after families have taken legal action.
“While sadly it’s too late for the thousands of people whose lives have been shattered, it’s now time that meaningful action was taken to finally address issues in maternity care.
“We’ll continue to support the families we represent to provide them with all of the answers and support they deserve. We’ll also continue to campaign for improvements in maternity care, as evidenced in our submission to the Health Committee’s Maternity Safety Call for Evidence.” Tim Annett - Partner
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals maternity investigation
The review was led by maternity expert Donna Ockenden. It examined nearly 1,600 cases involving the Trust between 2000 and 2019.
Ms Ockenden said the report highlighted how “failures in care were repeated from one incident to the next.”
Concerns over foetal growth and a reluctance to perform caesarean sections resulted in many babies dying during birth or shortly after their birth were also raised.
Report find nine areas and 60 actions for improvement
The review identified nine areas – and 60 actions – for learning and improvement at the Trust. These included management of patient safety, patient and family involvement in care and investigations, complaints processes, and staffing.
It also made 15 “immediate and essential actions” for all maternity services in England.
Ms Ockenden said: “There should never again be a review of this scale, in both numbers, and the length of years across which these concerns remained hidden.”
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust had previously said it was co-operating fully with the review team.
Ockenden Review background
An investigation was ordered into baby deaths at the Trust in 2017 by then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Initially the investigation was to look into 23 cases but was expanded to more than 270 in 2019.
The scope of the review was further extended to look into 1,170 cases stretching back 40 years before it was expanded again.
In December 2020 an initial review report based on 250 cases of concern, including the original 23, was published.
The report identified 34 areas where maternity care should be improved.
This included 27 ‘actions for learning’ by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and seven ‘immediate and essential actions’ not only for the Trust but for all maternity services across England.
Find out more about our expertise in supporting families affected by maternity care issues in Shrewsbury and Telford as well as other hospitals at our dedicated medical negligence section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.