"This is another scandal where it’s clear that lessons from past tragedies haven’t been learnt" - Healthwatch England's response to the Ockenden review

Healthwatch England has responded to the Independent Review of Maternity Services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, led by Donna Ockenden. The review examined almost 1,600 clinical incidents and found repeated failures in care.
Photo of someone holding the hand of a newborn baby

The review began in the summer of 2017, and was set up "to examine 23 cases of concern collated by the tireless efforts of the parents of Kate Stanton-Davies and Pippa Griffiths, who both died after birth at the Trust in 2009 and 2016 respectively."

Click here to read the full report.

The report states that the Trust "missed opportunities for learning, and a lost opportunity to prevent further baby deaths from occurring".

The review "identified failures to listen to families, failure to learn from clinical incidents and failure of multiple external bodies to act in improving maternity services at the Trust over two decades." Click here to read the press release.

The impact of death or serious health complications suffered as a result of maternity care cannot be underestimated. The impact on the lives of families and loved ones is profound and permanent.
— Donna Ockenden, 'Findings, conclusions and essential actions from the independent review of maternity services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust'

Responding to the report, Louise Ansari, National Director of Healthwatch England, said: 

“Our thoughts go out to the families affected by the maternity failings at Shrewsbury and Telford hospital NHS trust. 

This is another scandal where it’s clear that lessons from past tragedies haven’t been learnt. We also know the problems in maternity care don’t stop at Shrewsbury hospital, with recent reports disclosing failures to provide safe care to mothers and babies in other parts of the country.

It is vital that the recommendations made in the report were acted on nationwide as soon as possible. It's particularly important that parents and their families are listened to when things have gone wrong and involved in investigations, and remedial actions that are needed. They should be at the heart of transformational plans for the future delivery of maternity care and involved in the design of services.”

Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer at Healthwatch Shropshire, said:

"Our thoughts go out to the parents and families affected by the issues around maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH). Healthwatch Shropshire have directed anyone who has contacted us to share their experiences of maternity services to the Ockenden Review Team since the review started. We have also continued to give people the details of the PALS and Complaints Teams at SaTH to discuss any issues or concerns directly with the provider. We are continuing to work to support the ongoing Police investigation.

In July 2020, Healthwatch Shropshire and Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin wrote to the Trust to ask for assurances that patients, families and staff, past and present, will receive the support they need during and after the Independent Review of SaTH and will continue to monitor this.

We will also continue to attend meetings where the findings and recommendations of the Ockenden Report are discussed to understand what work is being done by the Trust to ensure improvements are made in line with the report’s recommendations and seek evidence that they are embedded.

The role of Healthwatch is to listen to people’s experiences of services and share these with providers, commissioners and regulators and so we encourage anyone currently receiving maternity services and the staff involved in delivering them to share their experiences with us.”

Click to read the full article on the Healthwatch England website.

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