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East Kent maternity inquiry to examine failings spanning more than a decade

An inquiry into dozens of baby deaths at an NHS trust will examine failings from “ward to board” covering a period of more than a decade, it has emerged.

The independent inquiry into poor maternity care at East Kent Hospitals University Trust published its terms of reference and scope for how it will carry out its work on Thursday.

The probe, led by Dr Bill Kirkup, was commissioned by the government after The Independent revealed more than 130 infants suffered brain injuries during birth at the trust over several years.

The scandal was exposed by the family of baby Harry Richford who died after a catalogue of errors by maternity staff in November 2017. A coroner ruled his death was the result of neglect and “wholly avoidable”.

Several other families have also spoken out over the deaths of their babies, with evidence emerging the trust’s managers were warned about safety concerns but failed to take action.

In October, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it intended to prosecute the trust over the death of Harry Richford.

It is understood that since the inquiry was launched, a significant number of families have come forward with concerns but the inquiry has refused to say what the total number of cases is.

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Source: The Independent, 11 March 2021


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