NHS probe into baby deaths at hospitals in Shropshire is widened to include 300 more cases of concern, bringing total of tragedies being investigated to around 550
- 250 cases were being examined at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust
- Now a further 300 more have come to light and are being investigated
- Initially review in 2017 was meant to span 23 cases of poor care but snowballed to 250 when hundreds of families came forward with their concerns
Hundreds more baby deaths on Shropshire maternity wards are being investigated by the NHS.
A total of 250 cases of concern were already being examined at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, but the BBC reported yesterday that 300 more have come to light.
In 2017, then health secretary Jeremy Hunt launched a review into avoidable baby deaths at the trust, specifically looking into the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford’s Princess Royal.
Initially the review was only meant to span 23 cases of poor care. It quickly snowballed to 250 when hundreds of families came forward with their concerns.
Rhiannon Davies from Ludlow, Shropshire, pictured with her daughter Kate moments after she was born on March 1, 2009. The infant died just six hours later
NHS Improvement then asked the trust to reveal the total number of deaths, stillbirths and babies with brain damage since 1998 when the national serious incident reporting system was established. Since then, 300 new cases have emerged.
NHS Improvement said the cases were not all necessarily the result of poor care.
The review is being led by independent midwife Donna Ockenden and a team of investigators. But its work was marred by scandal earlier this year after the Daily Mail revealed that grieving families thought the review was helping to ‘cover up’ the crisis.
The panel of six experts that Miss Ockenden reported to was accused of being ‘in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital’s pocket’. The panel was then axed.
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust runs Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (pictured)
At the time, Rhiannon Davies, whose daughter Kate died in 2009 six hours after she was born, said: ‘This is a complete and utter cover-up.’
After yesterday’s revelation, she told the BBC: ‘The Ockenden review team continues to have my full support. Whilst any increase in numbers will likely result in another delay to the official findings of the review, I am prepared to wait because this has to be done once and done properly.’
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said: ‘This current news story is directly related to matters being investigated following a request by the former secretary of state. This is being overseen by NHS Improvement.’