Another delay for long-awaited report into maternity care failures

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A long-awaited report into serious maternity care failures at an NHS Trust has been delayed again.

The report is examining 1,862 cases of mothers and babies who have been harmed at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTh).

This latest delay is being blamed on “parliamentary processes” which must happen before the final report can be published. It follows a previous delay in December 2021, when it was originally due to be published.

Hundreds of parents have been anticipating the publication of the review and are left feeling frustrated that they must now wait even longer to see the findings.

Maternity care scandal

The Ockenden independent maternity review is being carried out by Senior midwife Donna Ockenden and is thought to be the largest ever review of NHS maternity care.

It is investigating hundreds of reports of avoidable baby deaths, stillbirths and incidents involving babies sustaining brain injuries. There were also known to be at least 10 maternal deaths over a short period.

Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (“SaTh”) was recently the subject of a BBC Panorama programme called ‘Maternity Scandal: Fighting for the Truth’.

The programme revealed how the investigation was initially looking into 23 cases, but these escalated rapidly to the point where nearly 1,900 families have now come forward.

Ms Ockenden told Panorama:

“These are among the most serious cases that we have seen in our careers. The likelihood would be that when one tried to put together the full jigsaw, there would be other cases, but we didn’t know that at the outset.”

Unacceptable delays

An interim report was published in December 2020. It called for urgent and sweeping changes in all English hospitals to prevent more avoidable baby deaths, stillbirths, and neonatal brain damage.

It also included a series of immediate actions and “must do” recommendations for hospital trusts. These included formal risk assessments at every antenatal contact, twice-daily consultant-led maternity ward rounds, women, and family advocates on the board of every NHS trust, and the appointment of dedicated lead midwives and obstetricians.

Hannah Carr, a medical negligence solicitor from Novum Law’s Salisbury team who specialises in women’s health and birth injuries, said:

“Hundreds of families have been waiting for a long time to see the results of this report. This latest delay is unacceptable and is causing yet more anguish to bereaved parents.

“The interim report clearly stated that hospital trusts need to improve maternity safety “at pace” and yet the failure to publish the report is only contributing to further delays in the progress of improving maternity care.

“My thoughts are with the families who have suffered unimaginable loss. I hope that the report will be published soon so that they can get the justice they deserve and start to move on from this difficult period in their lives.”

If you have any concerns about the treatment you and your baby have received in a hospital or any other healthcare setting, Novum Law’s team of specialist medical negligence solicitors can help on a no-win, no fee basis. To find out more information, contact us on Freephone: 0800 884 0777 or email:

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