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NHS orders new chair of review into baby deaths

The NHS has ordered a new chair for the Nottingham maternity scandal review which is looking into hundreds of cases of alleged poor care.

In a letter published late on Friday the NHS said there needed to be “urgent” changes to the way the review was being carried out and this included appointing a former NHS trust chair Julie Dent to lead the review.

More than 100 bereaved families wrote to the health secretary Sajid Javid on 7 April calling for the review, to be overhauled and the chair Cathy Purt, to be replaced by Donna Ockenden who chaired the Shrewsbury maternity scandal inquiry.

The Nottingham review, dubbed an “independent thematic review”, was launched in July 2021 and is being led by local NHS commissioners and NHS England.

It was announced after The Independent and Channel 4 revealed millions had been paid out by the trust over 30 baby deaths and 46 incidents of babies left permanently brain damaged by Nottingham University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

Sir David Sloman, the NHS chief operating officer, said in his letter on Friday: “Following discussions at both a regional and national level, it is clear that urgent changes to how the review is being delivered need to be made. A new chair needs to lead this review with sufficient senior experience to address the concerns and challenges faced at Nottingham University Hospitals, to speed up the process and to deliver a review that can bring about real change for women and babies in Nottingham.

“It has therefore been agreed that the review will now have enhanced national oversight by NHS England and NHS Improvement and I am pleased to announce that Julie Dent CBE has agreed to take on the role of chair for this review and she will begin this work with immediate effect.”

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Source: The Independent, 23 April 2022


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