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Inquiry into maternity care at NHS trust examining more than 1,800 cases

Services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust are the focus of a review led by Donna Ockenden.

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(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

An independent inquiry into allegations of poor maternity care at an NHS trust is to review hundreds more cases, bringing the total to more than 1,800.

Maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust are the focus of the review led by Donna Ockenden.

Earlier this month, it was reported an examination of records at the trust had identified more cases.

On Tuesday, the independent maternity review team said a further search of paper records and a call for families to come forward had identified another 496 families.

This takes the total number of cases of death or harm being examined to 1,862.

Letters will be sent to the recently identified families asking if they want their case to be reviewed.

I want to assure families that their experiences are important to us and that our independent team of midwives and doctors continue to ensure that family voices remain central to everything we doDonna Ockenden

The independent maternity review team said the inquiry is moving into the next phase.

It is focusing on the completion of clinical reviews to enable the final report to be published, and the team has said any further cases should go to the trust.

Ms Ockenden said: “It’s now really important that we focus our efforts on getting all clinical reviews completed so that we can make meaningful recommendations to improve services and give families the answers they have asked for.

“We intend to have initial, emerging recommendations for maternity services published at the end of the year.

“In order to give ourselves the time to write the final report, any new cases that come to light from now on will need to go directly to the trust for them to consider, rather than them coming to the maternity review team.

“I have made a commitment to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care that we will undertake our work with the care and the independence it deserves and we will publish the final report as quickly as we can.

“I want to assure families that their experiences are important to us and that our independent team of midwives and doctors continue to ensure that family voices remain central to everything we do.”

The inquiry was commissioned by then health secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2017, following concerns raised by the parents of Kate Stanton-Davies and Pippa Griffiths, who died shortly after birth in 2009 and 2016 respectively.

Originally reviewing 23 cases, the scope of the review was widened after cases were identified by the trust’s own investigation.

West Mercia Police announced last month that they had launched an investigation into the care of mothers and babies who died or suffered serious harm in the maternity unit.

Ms Ockenden said the police probe will not impact the progress of the review.

PA