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Shropshire Maternity Units – Potentially UK’s Biggest Ever Maternity Scandal

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

What to do if you think you have been affected by the maternity scandal in Shropshire.

Most people will have seen the national coverage regarding the enquiry into high levels of deaths and concerns about maternity units in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, which revealed it to be potentially the UK’s biggest maternity scandal.

There have been major problems at these hospitals that have led to deaths of babies and mothers and also catastrophic injuries to some babies.

Jeremy Hunt (the then Health Secretary) ordered the enquiry in 2017. It is only in the last couple of weeks that the first report was leaked and we have seen various reports in the press and other media.

The enquiry has been led by a maternity expert Donna Ockenden and whilst there is no official report yet, the conclusions of the interim report (that have been leaked) warn that this could be the worst ever maternity scandal.

Some of the failings identified so far are:

  • Not monitoring heart rates during labour resulting in deaths of some babies.
  • Not increasing surveillance when signs of things going wrong leaving babies’ brain-damaged or suffering from cerebral palsy.
  • Failure to arrange emergency transfer in a timely fashion or at all.
  • Failure to listen to mothers where concerns have been raised by them during the course of their pregnancy.
  • No effective resuscitation
  • No adequate handover to other staff.

The initial enquiry was into 23 cases but has grown to more than 270 cases spanning over 40 years from 1979 to the present day.

This includes:

  • 22 stillbirths
  • 3 deaths during pregnancy
  • 17 deaths of babies after birth
  • 3 deaths of mothers
  • 47 cases of substandard care
  • 51 cases of cerebral palsy or brain damage being caused.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust  comprises of The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and is currently in special measures following a CQC inspection last year.

Louise Tyler specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor has commented:

I have been saddened to read the initial findings of the enquiry into the maternity units in Shropshire. So many families have been affected and have waited an incredibly long time to be listened to.

As the enquiry has progressed it is understood that there are likely to be hundreds of families affected and is likely to be the worst maternity scandal the NHS has seen to date. I very much hope that the answers will come and the families will eventually feel they have justice for their loved ones.

What to do if you think you have been affected by the maternity scandal in Shropshire.

• According to the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust website, you should contact Donna Ockenden who is in charge of the enquiry and her contact details are on their website.

• Write to the Hospital Trust with your concerns.

• Contact a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.

How do you know if you have been affected?

• The Hospital Trust may have written to you already to put you on notice.

• You may in the past have started an enquiry or complaint with the Hospital which did not lead anywhere and you may feel now justified in asking the Hospital to re-open that complaint in case it is relevant to this enquiry.

What is medical negligence?

• You have to prove that there has been:-

a) a breach of duty of care; and

b) that breach has caused damage

In terms of breaches some have already been identified by the enquiry and include the following:

  • Not monitoring heart rate during labour resulting in the death of some babies
  • Not increasing surveillance when signs of things going wrong leaving babies brain-damaged or suffering from cerebral palsy
  • Failing to arrange emergency transfer in a timely fashion or at all
  • Failing to listen where concerns have been raised by them during the course of their pregnancy
  • No effective resuscitation
  • No adequate handover to other staff

The damage that may arise as a result of the breaches of duty of care include:

  • Stillbirths
  • Deaths during pregnancy
  • Deaths of babies after birth
  • Death of mother
  • Cerebral palsy or brain damage caused to the baby

Our specialist clinical team have a wealth of experience and are here to help if you have any concerns about treatment received about maternity units at either of these hospitals.

Our head of team Louise Tyler has undertaken clinical negligence work for over 25 years, across the country. With Shropshire being within easy reach, she and her team are on hand to give advice and guidance to anyone who thinks they may have been affected by this sad situation. The specialist Clinical Negligence team at Wilson Browne have had experience of appearing before the Coroner in Shrewsbury and are here to help  if you have any concerns about treatment received at the maternity units at either of these Hospitals.

Louise is a member of both The Law Society and Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) specialist panels.

We would urge anyone who has been affected or thinks they may have been affected, to contact us without delay for a free initial discussion and assessment.

 

Louise Tyler

Posted:

Louise Tyler

Partner

Louise is the Head of the Medical Negligence Team and has worked in this area of law for over 25 years. She is a member of both the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel, the AvMA (Action for Victims of Medical Accidents) Panel and has been…