Extracts of the report leaked to the Independent relating to the failures in maternity care provided at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust make of upsetting reading. Given that I felt this way when reading the news stories, then I cannot imagine how distressing the news will be for family members and victims of the shockingly deficient maternity care, which was provided over almost a 40 year period. Not only has the Trust failed in its duty of candour, but the Trust is reported to have dismissed and belittled the concerns of affected family members.
It is now understood that over 600 cases are being examined in respect of potential deficient maternity care, leading to the avoidable deaths of new-born children and/or causing them significant injury.
There are a number of causes considered to have contributed to these failings, including; a toxic work culture, a failure to engage in learning and risk management. What is of greater concern is how common-place this behaviour could be. Mr Bill Kirkup’s quote in the Independent summarises the position accurately – “Two clinical organisational failures are not two one-offs: they point to an underlying systemic problem that may be latent in other units.”
Thousands of doctors and nurses do work tirelessly to look after the sick and injured with great compassion and skill. However, there is a huge problem. It is apparent that there needs to be vast improvement in knowledge sharing in NHS Trusts. Equally, hospital management and hospital staff need to take greater responsibility to ensure that patient safety and patient care is put at the forefront of decision making and policy.
Having assisted families where children have suffered catastrophic brain injuries as a result of negligence, I know first-hand how difficult it is for families to access the care and support they need for the injured child.
It is hoped that all NHS Trusts take urgent steps to ensure that lessons are learnt from these catastrophic failings. Along with this, it is important that steps are taken now to secure the future care needs of those suffering as a result of being injured through the failings of the Trust.
If you or your family have been impacted by the maternity care issues raised in the report then our specialist medical negligence team may be able to assist you. For a free initial consultation please call us on 0808 164 0808 or request a call back.