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14.11.18

Shropshire baby death review expanded to over 200 cases of maternity failings

A scandal-hit NHS trust investigating dozens of mother and baby deaths has now identified more than 200 cases as the review is widened for the third time.

The CQC review into the maternity deaths focused on 23 cases when it launched in 2017, but Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust has said 215 families have now come forward alleging maternity errors, according to the BBC.

The trust was placed into special measures by Matt Hancock last week due to concerns over patient safety, and it has already received three enforcement action notices from the CQC.

Since the independent review into the alleged maternity failings between 1998 and 2017 was commissioned by Jeremy Hunt last year, the scope has widened considerably.

In August the review was expanded to 40 cases, and in September it was again widened to include 104 cases.

This has now more than doubled, although it is understood that not all the new cases relate to death and serious harm and some fall outside the scope of the review.

According to the BBC, 36 of the 91 families who submitted their cases directly to the trust said their babies had died, and 22 alleged that their child had suffered permanent harm as a result of mistakes by the trust.

Matt Hancock wrote to local MPs last week to notify them of the decision to place the trust into special measures, arguing that it was the “right decision” to ensure patient safety “in light of ongoing concerns about the trust’s quality and performance and recent concerns raised by the CQC.”

Ian Dalton, chief executive of NHS Improvement, said: “While Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been working through its many challenges, it is important that the trust is able to deliver the high-quality care that patients deserve. The time is right to ramp up our help by placing the trust in special measures.”

The health inspectorate last month ordered the trust to submit weekly reports as part of its action plan in response to repeated safety failings at the trust amidst a back-drop of the investigation into the deaths.

The trust said it was co-operating fully with the review, with midwife Donna Ockenden leading the ever-growing investigation.

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