The press reports today that Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust will have to provide details over almost two decades of all stillbirths, maternal and neonatal deaths and significant harm in maternity services.
The ongoing independent review of maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, conducted by midwife Donna Ockenden, was ordered by the former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt last year.
New Health Secretary Matt Hancock is quoted in a BBC report as saying that all potential cases should be looked at. In the same report Mr Hancock said:
‘The investigation that has been set up can range as wide as needed to make sure that we get to the bottom of what happened, that families can find out what happened, and that we can learn the lessons from it. We've got to get to the truth.’
This broadening of the review to include all instances of harm to mother or child, in what Ockenden has already described as the ‘process-driven’ ethos of the unit, is welcomed by Andrea Bates who gave birth to her little girl in February 2015 and has been left with significant life changing injuries. She contacted Shoosmiths.
This was Andrea’s first pregnancy and she was excited at becoming a mum. She was admitted to the Princess Royal Midwifery-led Maternity Unit in Telford in the early stages of labour in February 2015.
Unfortunately her labour was long and traumatic, which could have been avoided if they had acted on her request for a caesarean section. Eventually her daughter was born following a second attempt by forceps.
Thankfully she was fit and well, but Andrea was left with significant injuries. The consequences of the traumatic delivery have affected Andrea’s everyday life, her confidence and her bonding with her baby. She has been unable to return to her previous work and requires ongoing medical attention.
Kashmir Uppal, a partner specialising in clinical negligence at Shoosmiths said:
‘Andrea strongly feels that her wishes were not taken into account. There seemed to be much confusion in the unit and an unwillingness to proceed with intervening when clearly intervention was indicated. Andrea felt that no one in the team seemed to know what they were planning on doing and she now feels that she is suffering the long term consequences as a result.’
‘We are therefore pleased to see that the review is being extended as we are concerned that there may have been systemic problems at the Trust which can only be fully identified if all cases are reviewed. Andrea at the very least deserves an explanation and an apology and we hope that lessons will be learned from this review to ensure better patient safety in the future.'
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