The announcement that a police investigation will be launched into the failings at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust will be welcome news to many of the 1,800 families whose babies were injured or died as a result of inadequate care at the trust.
An independent review of maternity services is already underway at the trust, led by Donna Ockenden, and is the largest of its kind ever carried out in the UK.
Ms Ockenden was the senior midwife who carried out a similar review of maternity practices at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust alongside the police’s criminal investigation. Her findings from that review, which were published in 2022, found repeated failures in care, that babies’ deaths were often not investigated and that grieving parents were not listened to. Other reasons cited for the failures at Shrewsbury and Telford were a lack of staff, insufficient on-going training and issues with governance at the Trust.
The announcement of a police investigation comes in the wake of the verdict in the Lucy Letby trial, and the announcement of a statutory inquiry into that case.
Medical negligence partner Kashmir Uppal, who acts for a number of families involved in the investigation at Shrewsbury and Telford, said:
“The improvements in safety standards in maternity and neonatal care nationally, announced by Maria Cauldwell earlier this year, can’t come soon enough. Time and again we hear of investigations into harm caused to babies and mothers in hospitals where they should be safe. The general public’s confidence in maternity services must be at an all-time low. The families I act for want answers and to ensure others do not have to suffer as they did, but it keeps on happening.”
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