Nottingham NHS Maternity Review Begins

Nottingham NHS Review
BSC, LLB (Hons) & LPC Sophia Azam
Legally reviewed by: BSC, LLB (Hons) & LPC Sophia Azam In: Medical Negligence

The review into the failings of Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust has begun, with a call for any affected families to come forward. This followed the deaths of 30 babies and permanent brain damage suffered by 46 babies.

The review is being led by Senior Midwife Donna Ockenden, to examine how these babies died or were injured under the care of Nottingham University Hospital Trust.

This comes just months after Ms. Ockenden led her previous inquiry into the UK’s biggest maternity scandal at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. Following the review of Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, Nottingham NHS Trust says it “welcomes the review.”

Ms. Ockenden’s Statement on Nottingham NHS Trust

Ms. Ockenden states: “The ultimate aim of this independent review is to make sure the performance at the trust’s maternity service improves as quickly as possible and in a way that means those improvements are sustained.”

“As with the Shrewsbury review, this review will assess if cases of concern were adequately investigated by the trust at the time, if the lessons for learning were the appropriate ones and whether the lessons were indeed learned and acted upon.”

Since starting her review into Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, Donna Ockenden has met with the families affected. Ms. Ockenden states that the accounts were “absolutely harrowing”.

A Call for the Families Affected by the Failings of Nottingham NHS Trust to Come Forward

Ms. Ockenden states that the review is working hard to reach all communities in the Nottingham area. She emphasizes the report’s interest in all experiences of those who have suffering as a result of the trust’s failings.

The team behind the report consists of about 60 practicing NHS maternity experts spanning across the country. They released a statement saying it was of “paramount importance” that the review was as comprehensive as possible, leaving no voice unheard.” Therefore, Ms. Ockenden and her team are trying to get in contact with as many families and current and former staff in the maternity services as possible.

It is expected for the review to take 18 months, but Ms. Ockenden has informed the news of plans to share “learning points” with the trust during this time.

So far, the report has received an overwhelmingly positive response with many claiming that their voices are finally being heard.

An Update to the Nottingham Review

In May 2022, Ms. Ockenden was appointed to lead a review into Nottingham’s NHS Trust following her previous work investigating the deaths of more than 200 babies at Shrewsbury and Telford.

Although a review into Nottingham NHS Trust was already underway, critics state that it was too narrow and not independent enough.

Figures obtained by the BBC found between 2005-6 and 2020-21, show the span of failings in the Nottingham NHS Trust. There was a total of 207 claims against the hospital’s maternity services. This includes 36 for cerebral palsy, 26 for stillbirths, and 24 for brain damage. The total amount awarded in damages for that period was more than £110m.

Statement from Chief Nurse at Nottingham University Hospital:

Michelle Rhodes, the chief nurse at NUH, states: “We are deeply sorry for the unimaginable distress that has been caused due to failings in our maternity services.”

“We know that an apology will never be enough, and we owe it to those who have been failed, those we’re caring for today and to our staff to deliver a better maternity service for our communities.”

“We welcome Donna Ockenden and her team to Nottingham and will work with them to achieve this.”

Statement from the Department of Health and Social Care:

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson states: “Donna Ockenden has brought a wealth of experience, particularly following her work on the review of Shrewsbury and Telford maternity services – and the department looks forward to seeing her recommendations for urgent improvements.”

“We will continue to take all the steps necessary to ensure no families have to go through this pain again.”

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