The Ockenden review - HWE Response

The Independent Review of Maternity Services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, led by Donna Ockenden, has been published today. Read our response.

The review into almost 1,600 clinical incidents identified failures to listen to families, failure to learn from clinical incidents and failure of multiple external bodies to act in improving maternity services at the Trust over two decades.

It found that where investigations did take place they did not meet the expected standards at that time and failed to identify areas for improvement in care.

The review calls for immediate action to improve care and safety in maternity services across England, focusing on areas, such as safe staffing, escalation and accountability, clinical governance and robust support for families.

Responding to the report, Louise Ansari, our National Director said: 

“Our thoughts go out to the families affected by the maternity failings at Shrewsbury and Telford hospital NHS trust. 

This is another scandal where it’s clear that lessons from past tragedies haven’t been learnt. We also know the problems in maternity care don’t stop at Shrewsbury hospital, with recent reports disclosing failures to provide safe care to mothers and babies in other parts of the country.

It is vital that the recommendations made in the report were acted on nationwide as soon as possible. It's particularly important that parents and their families are listened to when things have gone wrong and involved in investigations, and remedial actions that are needed. They should be at the heart of transformational plans for the future delivery of maternity care and involved in the design of services.”

Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer at Healthwatch Shropshire, said:

"Our thoughts go out to the parents and families affected by the issues around maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH). Healthwatch Shropshire have directed anyone who has contacted us to share their experiences of maternity services to the Ockenden Review Team since the review started. We have also continued to give people the details of the PALS and Complaints Teams at SaTH to discuss any issues or concerns directly with the provider. We are continuing to work to support the ongoing Police investigation.

In July 2020, Healthwatch Shropshire and Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin wrote to the Trust to ask for assurances that patients, families and staff, past and present, will receive the support they need during and after the Independent Review of SaTH and will continue to monitor this.

We will also continue to attend meetings where the findings and recommendations of the Ockenden Report are discussed to understand what work is being done by the Trust to ensure improvements are made in line with the report’s recommendations and seek evidence that they are embedded.

The role of Healthwatch is to listen to people’s experiences of services and share these with providers, commissioners and regulators and so we encourage anyone currently receiving maternity services and the staff involved in delivering them to share their experiences with us.”

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