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Morecambe Bay inquiry chief voices criticisms over East Kent hospital scandal

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The failure to pass a damning report about a scandal-hit hospital trust to the care watchdog has been criticised by the man who led the inquiry into baby deaths at Morecambe Bay.

On Friday, a coroner ruled that the death of baby Harry Richford in 2017 resulted from neglect in the maternity unit of East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust.

A report by the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (RCOG) completed a year earlier had warned of issues that contributed to Harry’s death, including senior doctors not showing up for their shifts. However, the report was never passed on to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), despite the recommendation of the Morecambe Bay inquiry in 2015 that relevant external reviews should be passed on to the watchdog.

Bill Kirkup, who chaired the inquiry into deaths of mothers and babies at Furness General Hospital in Barrow-in-Furness, told The Independent: “When there is sufficient concern about a service to prompt an external review, the report must be available immediately to those responsible for assuring the quality of the service. That was the reason for the recommendation of the Morecambe Bay investigation, and it is disappointing that the Care Quality Commission apparently had no sight of this report until now.”

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Source: 26 January 2020

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