Independent review of maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust
News and Updates
MPs call for evidence on maternity safety and what more must be done to improve it.
Recurrent failings in maternity services and what action is needed to improve safety for mothers and babies is the focus of this new inquiry launched by the Health and Social Care Committee. The Safety of Maternity Services in England inquiry will examine evidence relating to ongoing concerns despite the substantial amount of work carried out in recent years.
The Committee will build upon investigations that followed incidents at East Kent Hospitals University Trust and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, as well as the inquiry into the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.
MPs will also consider whether clinical negligence and litigation processes need to be changed to improve the safety of maternity services, as well as the extent to which a “blame culture” affects medical advice and decision-making.
Health and Social Care Committee Chair Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP said:
“The death of a baby when something goes wrong is a tragedy for a family. When we’ve seen a pattern of baby deaths, we must be confident that failings that contributed to them have been addressed and lessons learned.
“However, the safety of our maternity services continues to be a matter of concern.
“We’ll be looking at the evidence that’s been gathered to date and whether recommendations are being acted upon to ensure that lasting improvements are made to safeguard the lives of mothers and their babies.”
Press Release from Donna Ockenden
INDEPENDENT REVIEW INTO MATERNITY SERVICES AT THE SHREWSBURY AND TELFORD HOSPITALS NHS TRUST ENTERS NEXT PHASE
Donna Ockenden, Chair of the Independent Maternity review into care at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust has confirmed today that the total number of family cases the review team is now looking into stands at 1862.
Following an ‘Open Book’ review in 2018 which largely focused on electronic records, a call for families to come forward and a further search of paper records a further 496 families were identified to give 1862 cases.
“The Trust have worked closely with the review team throughout this process and have provided us with all requested information. I would like to thank them for all the work undertaken to reach this point. By working together we have sadly identified a further 496 families as part of the review, who I am writing to this week.”
Families who wish to raise a concern about the care they have received, should do so directly with the Trust by contacting: [email protected] or by phone to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on: 01952 641222 extension 4382.
All efforts are now focusing on the completion of clinical reviews by the independent maternity review team to enable the final report to be published. Donna Ockenden further explained:
“it’s now really important that we focus our efforts on getting all clinical reviews completed so that we can make meaningful recommendations to improve services and give families the answers they have asked for. We intend to have initial, emerging recommendations for maternity services published at the end of the year.
In order to give ourselves the time to write the final report, any new cases that come to light from now on will need to go directly to the Trust, for them to consider, rather than them coming to the maternity review team.”
These additional families will be written to telling them that their maternity care at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust has been referred to the independent review team. The letters to families discuss the Terms of Reference which explain the work of the Independent review team. The Terms of Reference can be found here:
The letters also provide information to enable families to make a choice as to whether they want their care to be reviewed by the independent team.
Donna Ockenden finished by adding:
“I have made a commitment to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care that we will undertake our work with the care and the independence it deserves and we will publish the final report as quickly as we can. I want to assure families that their experiences are important to us and that our independent team of midwives and doctors continue to ensure that family voices remain central to everything we do.”
This Independent Maternity review was commissioned by Jeremy Hunt in 2017, when he was Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, following concerns raised by the parents of Kate Stanton-Davies who died shortly after birth in 2009 and Pippa Griffiths, who died just after she was born in 2016.
An open letter to the people served by The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust
I know that you, the communities of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales care deeply about your local hospitals and the care we provide. All of us experience important life events in hospitals, from the birth of a loved one, to life-changing surgery or treatment in an emergency. You have a right to expect the very best care every time you use our services. However, if things do go wrong, it is the role of the Trust and our staff to learn from any failings, so that we can provide answers to families and patients and improve our care now and in the future.
You will, of course, be aware that our Maternity Services have been under the spotlight for some time. I know that our standards of care have fallen short for many families and I deeply apologise for this.
An independent review, led by experienced midwife, Donna Ockenden, is looking into cases involving families from our communities. Today, we know that the total number of families whose cases are being reviewed is 1,862. I recognise that this will be a huge concern, both for those families and everyone in our communities, who depend on us for their care.
It is a concern for our staff too, who are committed to providing our patients with the highest standards of care.
There is no doubt that this continues to be a difficult and painful experience for many families and I am truly sorry for their distress. I recognise that we should have provided far better care for each and every one of these families at what was one of the most important times in their lives. We know that we have let them down.
I am very aware that, for these families, words will never be enough and what they want to see is evidence of real improvement at the Trust. This is why we are committed to listening to them and to working with Donna Ockenden’s Review to ensure lessons are learned and we have a service which the community and our patients can trust.
We have made some progress in improving the standards of care for mothers and babies and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) now rates our Maternity Services as ‘Good’ across three of the five standards (Caring, Effective and Responsive). However, we are rated as ‘requires improvement’ for the other two standards (Safe and Well-led). We recognise that we still have a long way to go.
One of the things we have learned is that we must be better at listening to everyone who uses our services. We will work harder at this and create more opportunities for families to tell us about their experiences, allowing us to make positive, clear and tangible improvements, based on what we learn.
Our opportunity to listen and learn should not be confined to the families involved in the Ockenden Review. Any family not included in the review can come to us at any time to share their experiences or raise any concerns. You can contact us by email: [email protected] or by phone to Patient Advice and Liaison Service on: 01952 641222 extension 4382.
We must now let Donna and her team do their job and we will continue to work openly with them to help families get the answers they need and in turn for us to make the necessary improvements.
In the meantime I want to reassure you that we are working hard to deliver the high quality Maternity Services that the people in our communities rightly deserve.
Chief Executive, The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust
Please see below a statement from West Mercia Police explaining more about their investigation and how it relates to the review. I hope this is helpful.
Statement from West Mercia Police:
“We appreciate that you may have questions about the police investigation and how this sits alongside the review and we’d like to give you as much clarity as possible.
We have been engaging with the Ockenden Review throughout and, following an assessment of the current information available, we now feel it’s appropriate to launch a police investigation to ascertain if any criminal offence has been committed.
The scope of our investigation (known as Operation Lincoln) is to identify whether there is evidence to support a criminal case either against the Trust or any individuals.
We are looking at cases from 1st October 2003, which is the date the current Trust was established. However, we will consider serious cases prior to this date and if you have any concerns at all we welcome you to contact us via this online form: http://mipp.police.uk/getForms/22HQ19D84-PO1/22HQ19D84-PF1
I want to reassure you that our investigation will not impede the progress of the Ockenden Review or the learning and health care improvements which they or the Trust may identify.
We are working with the Review to identify the cases that we believe are most likely to form part of the criminal investigation and we will be in touch with those families. This may mean we are not in touch with some of you but this shouldn’t be interpreted as your case being less important to us or the Review. Our investigation is to ascertain if a crime has been committed. To get to our investigative decision it is unlikely we will need to assess every case. Again, however, if you have any concerns you can get in touch using the form linked above.
We cannot even begin to imagine what you have been, and continue to go through and we will endeavour to keepyou informed as it progresses as best we can recognising the sensitivity of this nature of investigation.”
Investigation into maternity services and provision at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust. Police statement regarding police investigation into maternity services and provision at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust.
Donna Ockenden confirmed that the number of families involved in the maternity review now stands at 1,170 and recently issued a final call for families to come forward by the end of May.
Donna explained: “The 400 families written to today have been passed to us by the Trust for review. They are not new cases and were included in the numbers last year.”
When explaining why these additional families have been sent letters today Donna Ockenden explained: “Throughout the autumn and winter of 2018, the Trust, supported by NHS Improvement, undertook its own review of maternity care, where records existed, from the year 2007 to the end of 2018. This led to the identification of just over 330 families who at that time were not known to my maternity review team. I am now writing to those families to ask them if they would like to be included in the review. ”
Statement from Donna Ockenden, Chair of the independent review of maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust following the Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons on 15th January 2019:
“I am really grateful to the brave families who have contacted my Review team since my public appeal in November, bringing the total number of families to more than 900. My team are busy speaking to every family and hearing their story. Once again, I appeal to any family with concerns about the maternity care they received at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, and who has yet to come forward, to please do so by contacting 01243 786993.”
The number of families who have contacted the independent review into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has increased. In light of this, Donna Ockenden has today finalised the revised terms of reference for the Review in agreement with NHS England, families and the Trust.