NHS trust baby deaths review uncovers hundreds of new cases

Telegraph Reporters
A review into the deaths and injuries of babies at a scandal-hit maternity unit has uncovered hundreds of new cases. - PA

A review into the deaths and injuries of babies at a scandal-hit maternity unit has uncovered hundreds of new cases.

NHS Improvement has found more than 300 new cases of concern at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SATH).

It is understood that the new cases include still births and deaths of babies in the final stages of labour.

An independent inquiry ordered by Jeremy Hunt when he was Health Secretary in April 2017 had already been investigating 250 cases at hospitals in Shropshire.

A team led by Donna Ockenden, a senior midwife, has been investigating allegations of malpractice between 1998 and 2017.

Some babies born at the trust between 2000 and 2017 are feared to have suffered avoidable harm due to errors by maternity staff.

Parents have claimed they were pressured into natural births and that caesarean or forceps-assisted deliveries would have prevented brain damage. 

Some deaths have also been blamed on the failure of midwives to properly monitor foetal heart rates and detect infection.

SATH was put into special measures last November and was made subject to "further urgent action" in May amid safety concerns over emergency and maternity services following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

An NHS Improvement spokesperson said: “As part of the independent Ockenden review, the trust was requested to share all potentially relevant information relating to maternity to establish if any more cases should be included in this investigation so that all families are given the answers they need and lessons are learned.”  

SATH has been contacted for comment.