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Maternity care ... failings and investigations.

View profile for Kim Daniells
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There has been much in the media recently about the problems and alleged failings with maternity care at Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust. Issues have arisen that suggest long term difficulties at the Trust from the 1990's until just a few years ago. There are reported cases of baby deaths, and injuries to babies and mums alike. It is suggested that some of those injuries are long term and life changing.


Some may remember the scandal relating to the maternity unit at Furness General Hospital, which was investigated a few years ago. As with Shrewsbury & Telford, there were a number of baby deaths. An investigation was carried out and criticism levelled at both junior and senior midwives at the hospital, relating to the deaths of 4 babies and 2 mothers.  


In the cases of both NHS Trusts responsible, there appears to have been a reluctance to investigate reports of concern by the Trusts themselves. Even when the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) carried out a review at Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust in the summer of 2017, identifying several failings in the care provided, the Trust did not publish the report and the RCOG did not report their findings to the relevant regulators.


Those who are taking part in the investigation of Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust, and who have suffered the devastating loss of a baby or a permanent and debilitating injury, may well feel vindicated and relieved that such an investigation is taking place. The investigation is, however,  only likely to have any real meaning if it results in a change to the way maternity units are run and monitored. It is essential that such enquiries have as their focus, a determination to ensure that such potentially avoidable tragedies are never repeated.