Families ‘frustrated’ by delay in releasing report on maternity scandal | NHS
Families have expressed ‘huge frustration’ after the release of the final report into the NHS’ biggest maternity scandal was delayed for the second time.
The Ockenden review has investigated 1,862 maternity cases at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS trust in which mothers and babies may have been injured for almost 20 years, and was due for publication on March 22, after being delayed from December.
This week, Senior Midwife Donna Ockenden, who is leading the review, wrote to families to say that publication had again been delayed due to “parliamentary processes” yet to take place, and that a new date has not yet been confirmed.
“It’s extremely frustrating. I can’t really express it, it’s just awful. We had this date in front of us, everyone’s life is on hold and we are holding our breath to finally get this report,” said Rhiannon Davies, whose daughter Kate Stanton-Davies died in the care of the trust. shortly after his birth in 2009.
“People have booked time off because emotionally it’s a huge thing. Treating families like this, and treating Donna like this after all the work she’s done, is just disrespectful.
Davies and partner Richard Stanton campaigned for the review for years alongside Kayleigh and Colin Griffiths, whose daughter Pippa died in 2016 after contracting an infection during childbirth.
In a written statement to Parliament on Tuesday, Patient Safety Minister Maria Caulfield said the NHS was in the process of securing compensation cover for possible legal action after the report was published.
Davies said many families were skeptical about the reasons for the delay. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a very damning report and there are a lot of people in positions of power right now. This delay will not prevent the truth from coming out, for whatever reason,” Davies said.
“All the families were, in fact, prepared for what we were finally going to hear that day,” said Charlotte Cheshire, whose 10-year-old son Adam was severely disabled after staff failed to administered antibiotics for seven hours. when he caught an infection during childbirth.
“All of the families involved in this investigation, either their children died or were horribly injured and disabled. These are big emotional situations that we face. This report took years to prepare, everyone had time to make the arrangements that needed to be made.
“This delay leaves us angry, disappointed, upset and triggers grief again.”
The review was commissioned by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2017 to examine an initial 23 cases. Ockenden’s interim report, released in December 2020, revealed a series of failures within the trust, including a deadly reluctance to perform C-sections and a tendency to blame mothers for problems.
“My son’s birthday is next week, he would have been seven. It’s been seven years without a sorry from the hospital,” said Hayley Matthews, whose son Jack Burn died 11 hours after he was born in 2015 .
“You want justice for yourself, but you also want change. I can’t bring my son back, but I hope this review helps other families and prevents it from happening again. But until we see this report, everyone is in the dark.
A spokesperson for the Ockenden review said: “We have been advised that a number of parliamentary processes are required before the final report can be released to Parliament. The Department of Health and Social Care is working to put these arrangements in place so that we can publish the report as soon as possible. These parliamentary processes are totally beyond the review team’s control.
A DHSC spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to providing the families with the answers they deserve and our sympathies remain with everyone involved. “We continue to work with the review team at Ockenden and NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure the final report is released as soon as possible.”