Shrewsbury & Telford Trust – Learning lessons from the past
The long-awaited review into maternity care at Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust, undertaken by Donna Ockenden has finally been published and it makes shocking reading
The key headlines are that with better care, around 201 babies might have survived, maternal deaths may also have been prevented and other babies may have avoided lifelong harm including cerebral palsy. These terrible outcomes arose from cases of poor maternal and baby care over the past two decades in an era when medical science is advanced.
Key findings of the Ockenden review
Birth injuries, whether maternal or baby, cause grief and pain, whatever the circumstances. What makes Shrewsbury & Telford more tragic, is that families were not only failed by the health system, which was there to serve them, but that clinicians worked within a culture which lacked openness and professional insight. Had lessons been learnt in the early 2000s so much pain, trauma and suffering could have been avoided.
Sadly, even the Ockenden review suffered obstacles with doctors and midwives being threatened with consequences for their career if they co-operated. All staff working within the NHS have had to operate within the requirements of the Duty of Candour, for more than a decade now but it seems that some Trusts show little regard for this.
Credit must go to those campaigning families who not only fought hard to extract the truth for their own babies but shone a spotlight on this for hundreds of others.
Unfortunately, Shropshire was not the last area where care is questioned with recent independent investigations into maternity services in Nottingham and South Wales.
At Clarke Willmott, we work with families who have been affected by the issues in this article and see at first hand the pain that they have suffered. It is a privilege to support them and in appropriate cases recover compensation. While that can never make up for what has been lost it at least provides practical support.