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Cover-ups and lies in maternity care keep happening, says Donna Ockenden

A week after Donna Ockenden published her damning report on the catastrophic failures in maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust in March last year, she was contacted by families in Nottingham asking her to investigate how dozens of babies had died or been injured in their city hospitals.

Six months later, Ockenden — herself a senior midwife — was put in charge of another inquiry by the government and yet again she is finding a culture of cover-ups and lies in maternity care.

“Of the families that I have met in Nottingham to date, some of them have expressed concerns to me that the trust were not truthful in discussions around their cases,” she tells the Times Health Commission.

“We have all the systems and structures in place that should be able to spot maternity services in difficulty and here we are again. Families are having to fight to get answers.”

The woman who has done more than anyone to highlight the problems with maternity care is reluctant to use the word “crisis” but she warns: “I think that without urgent and rapid action, from central government downwards — on funding and workforce and training — mothers and their babies are not going to be able to receive the safe, personalised maternity care that they deserve and should expect".

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 21 April 2023


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