Midwife officially launches review into maternity care at scandal-hit NHS trust

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A senior midwife has urged families and staff members of an NHS trust embroiled in a scandal over baby deaths to come forward as an independent review into maternity failings was officially launched.

Donna Ockenden is set to lead the investigation after some 100 mothers wrote to the then health secretary Sajid Javid to criticise the thematic review of maternity incidents at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH).

To date, dozens of babies are believed to have died or been left with serious injuries as a result of care at the trust, which runs Nottingham’s City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC).

On Thursday, Ms Ockenden said she wants families and staff at NUH to “be able to feel confidence and pride in the safety and quality of their local maternity services”.

Announcing the start of the independent review, Ms Ockenden said on Twitter: “Today is the first day of the independent review into maternity services at NUH – I am honoured to have been appointed to the role of chair.

“Our goal is for local families and staff to once more be able to feel confidence and pride in the safety & quality of their local maternity services.

Ockenden report
Donna Ockenden will chair the independent review (Jacob King/PA)

“If you are a staff member, current or former, that has concerns, please come forward – your confidentiality will be respected, we are waiting  to hear from you.”

Earlier this year, the Care Quality Commission told the trust it must make “significant and immediate improvements” to its maternity services as it said women and babies may not be safe.

NUH is also being prosecuted over the death of baby Wynter Sophia Andrews, which could have been prevented if she had been delivered sooner.

An inquest found she had died from hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy – a loss of oxygen flow to the brain – after she was born by Caesarean section at the QMC in September 2019.

An NHS spokesperson said: “The NHS is absolutely committed to ensuring that the unacceptable experiences of families and maternity failings at NUH are responded to and learned from, and we are fully and actively supporting Donna Ockenden as she begins this important review with families and staff.”

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