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RCM response to Ockenden review into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford

Poor culture and leadership must be addressed if we are to make our maternity services the safest place to give birth. This statement from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) came as the final report of the largest ever review of NHS maternity services was published. The RCM acknowledged that the pain and suffering of the families had been worsened by having to fight for answers and vowed to work with NHS bodies and other professional organisations to ensure lessons are learned from these tragic failings.

Today the RCM has pledged to continue its work to be part of the solution to safety improvements and support its members to do the same not only at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, but throughout all maternity services across the UK.

Commenting, the Royal College of Midwives’ (RCM) Chief Executive, Gill Walton said:

“It is heartbreaking that this report only came about because of the determination of the families. We owe them a debt that I fear can never be repaid. What we can do - all of us who are involved in maternity services – is work together to ensure we listen, and we learn from this and ensure that women and families have trust in their care."

“This review must be a turning point for all those working in maternity services. The actions recommended are measured and sensible and reflect much of what the RCM has been calling for. We hope that those in a position to enact them – NHS England and the Department for Health & Social Care – will do so in partnership with organisations like ours and with haste.”

"A poor working culture, where staff were afraid to raise concerns, has been cited by the report as a key factor in many of the cases. Earlier this year the RCM called for a seismic NHS cultural shift to improve maternity safety as it published guidance for its members to raise concerns about maternity care which outlined steps staff can take and what to do if they feel they are not being listened to or their concerns are ignored."

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Source: Royal College of Midwives, 30 March 2022


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