Scandal-Hit Maternity Unit Must Demonstrate 'Immediate Action' Has Been Taken
Experts call for ‘categorical and clear communication’ to provide reassurance to patients
Reports that at least 60 mothers and their babies are feared to have died or suffered serious harm at a maternity unit in Shropshire have been described as ‘extremely worrying and upsetting’ by a medical law expert who represented the devastated parents of a baby who died at the Trust in 2009.
According to media reports an investigation – triggered by the death of Kate Stanton-Davies who died six hours after her birth - was launched earlier in the year, with 23 suspicious incidents between 1998 and 2017 at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH) under review.
That figure is understood to have now risen to at least 60, with the deaths of babies and mothers during childbirth, as well as reports of newborns suffering lifelong harm, believed to be amongst those cases being investigated.
Ian Cohen, a medical law expert and Partner at Simpson Millar Solicitors, who represented baby Kate’s parents in their battle for answers, said ‘immediate action’ is now needed to ‘protect and reassure’ those who rely on the Trust for their care, and the care of their loved ones.
The findings of an independent review into the circumstances surrounding the devastating death of Kate which was released in 2016, found that the hospital trust had ‘abdicated its responsibility’ in finding out what happened, and that SaTH had ‘failed to establish facts and accountability’.
The case against the Trust — which admitted liability for failings in the care received by Kate – has now concluded.
Cohen said: “This maternity ward was put under the spotlight following Kate’s death, and was then subjected to a full investigation for failing 23 families; and yet here we are reading reports of as many as 60 potentially avoidable deaths and injuries. How many more will come to light”?
“This is clearly a systemic issue, and whilst we welcome the fact that an investigation is now underway we would urge the Trust to demonstrate that immediate action has been taken to put measures in place to protect patients from harm”.
“Such a categorical and clear communication on the issue is surely the only way to reassure those who are reliant on this maternity ward for their care, and the care of their loved ones, that their safety is a priority and that failings are proactively being addressed”.
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