Protecting mothers and babies: we cannot get this wrong again!

Baby Lifeline endorses the recommendations of The Ockenden Maternity Services Review

Coventry, 10th December 2020

Baby Lifeline, the mother and baby charity, supports all recommendations made in today’s emerging findings report in to maternity care failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).  

These ‘essential and immediate actions’ originate from The Ockenden Review’s preliminary analysis of  250 cases of concern, including the original 23 cases that led to the review.  A total of 1,862 cases will be considered by the review’s conclusion.

Baby Lifeline, the mother and baby charity, completely supports all of the review’s recommendations. It is essential that mothers are given accurate, evidence-based information in order to make informed decisions about the pregnancy and birth that they want. We wholly support The Review’s recommendation that families must be listened to – once again, as with investigations before it, families have had to fight to understand what happened to them. The report also has a strong focus on the importance of multi-professional training – something which has been a national recommendation for decades and remains under-resourced and under-funded.

Since the devastating losses at SaTH, the NHS has delivered real improvements in maternity care, although there is work still to be done.  There is no single solution to improving this problem.  But a collaborative, transparent approach blended with investment in staff, training, and infrastructure have driven recent advances in care.

This review highlights that mothers and babies continue to die or suffer serious injury as a result of issues with their care.  These problems are almost entirely preventable, through improved training, education and post incident reflection.

Judy Ledger, Founder and CEO of Baby Lifeline says: “The cases from Shrewsbury and Telford are heartbreaking.  Just like the hundreds of others I have come across in my decades of campaigning with Baby Lifeline.  We need our professionals to be supported to learn and give the very best care they can to mothers and babies.  I’m delighted that this is starting to change, but there’s still so much more to be done”.

James Titcombe, Patient Safety and Policy Consultant at Baby Lifeline, and father of Joshua Titcombe, who died nine days after being born in 2008 at Furness General Hospital says: “More than 5 years after the publication of the Morecambe Bay Investigation, it is desperately concerning to see another damning report detailing serious failures in maternity care, and the impact this had on so many families. Many of the themes highlighted today echo those found at Morecambe Bay and we must not make the mistake of assuming that what happened at Shrewsbury and Telford is another ‘one-off’. Despite the progress made since the Morecambe Bay Investigation report was published, many of its specific recommendations have still not been implemented. We must learn from this and ensure today’s report results in urgent change and not words alone.”