Nottingham maternity inquiry: what will it take to make services safer?

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A review of maternity care failings in Nottingham hospitals will be the largest ever carried out in the UK.

It will be chaired by Senior Midwife Donna Ockenden, and will examine the cases of families who have experienced stillbirth, neonatal deaths, brain damage to the baby, and harm to mothers or relatives of mothers who died.

Donna Ockenden has advised that over 1,700 families from a 10 year period (2012 – 2022) have been identified as requiring investigation by the review as a result of the poor maternity care they received.

This will make the Nottingham University Hospitals review the biggest yet. For perspective, a previous Ockenden review in Shrewsbury and Telford spanned 20 years with 1,500 families participating (95% of those asked), with the final report published last year concluding that 200 baby deaths were avoidable.

The sheer amount of families involved highlights the magnitude of the problem and emphasises the need for this type of investigation. Our specialist medical negligence and women’s health team joins these families – and many others – in hoping that the Nottingham maternity inquiry promotes recognition of the devastating consequences of negligent maternity care.

Diversity in maternity care: the importance of representation

Unless any families ‘opt out’ of having their care investigated as part of the Review, all families’ care will be investigated.  Donna Ockenden commented: “…my promise to you as families today is the same as the promise I made to you in September at the start of this review, that as a review team we will do all we can to ensure this review is for all Nottinghamshire families.”

Donna Ockenden has also stressed the importance of achieving representation from diverse communities, with efforts underway to ensure that women from all backgrounds come forwards and participate.

The goal of moving to an “opt out” approach is to tackle under-representation of women from minority ethnic groups and those living in deprived areas in order to provide “a more realistic picture” of maternity care.

Overall, this review into maternity care failings in Nottingham Hospitals aims to identify past mistakes, re-build trust and to ensure that all affected families have a voice in the process.  In doing so, the goal is to learn from these incidents and to make substantial improvements, with the ultimate aim of preventing similar tragedies in the future.

Compensation after negligent maternity care

Hannah Carr is a specialist women’s and maternal health lawyer and Director of Novum Law. She says:

“It’s terrible tragedy that just over 12 months from the report into the SaTH maternity scandal, the NHS now faces a further maternity scandal of seemingly worse proportions.”

It’s vital that the Nottingham maternity inquiry means families have their voices heard and that there is an honest and transparent relationship with the Chair of the Board and the CEO of the Trust to bring about vital change needed in maternity care at the Trust.

There must be meaningful action which will support and protect babies and their families in the future.

Given the scale of not only this latest review, but others across the country, it can be easy to forget that each case represents a devastated life and untold suffering for those families affected and so my thoughts are very much with those involved.”

If you have experienced negligent maternity care which has caused harm to you, your baby or your loved one, we are here.

Our expert, compassionate medical negligence team understand how devastating it is for mothers and babies to be failed by healthcare professionals. We will listen to you and support you through the steps of making a medical negligence compensation claim on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis so you can secure justice.

To find out more, call us on 0800 884 0777, email or complete our online enquiry form to arrange a free, no obligations chat.

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