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Babies and mothers died due to care failings at Shrewsbury trust

Leaked report reveals ‘toxic’ culture stretching back 40 years
Princess Royal Hospital

Leaked report reveals toxic culture stretching back 40 years

Babies and mothers died as a result of major failings at a hospital trust, a leaked report has revealed.

The interim report, seen by The Independent online news site, states that Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust had a toxic culture stretching back 40 years, which contributed to the avoidable deaths.

Catalogue of care failings at the trust

Children were also left with permanent disability amid substandard care at the trust, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Staff routinely dismissed parents concerns, got deceased babies names wrong and, in one instance, referred to a baby who died as it.

The interim report comes from an independent inquiry led by maternity expert Donna Ockenden,

Leaked report reveals ‘toxic’ culture stretching back 40 years


The trust runs Princess Royal Hospital and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. Picture: Alamy

Babies and mothers died as a result of major failings at a hospital trust, a leaked report has revealed. 

The interim report, seen by The Independent online news site, states that Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust had a ‘toxic’ culture stretching back 40 years, which contributed to the avoidable deaths.

Catalogue of care failings at the trust

Children were also left with permanent disability amid substandard care at the trust, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Staff routinely dismissed parents’ concerns, got deceased babies’ names wrong and, in one instance, referred to a baby who died as ‘it’.

The interim report comes from an independent inquiry led by maternity expert Donna Ockenden, which was ordered by the government in 2017.

The initial scope of the investigation was to examine 23 cases, but this has grown to more than 270, covering the period from 1979 to the present day.

The cases include 22 stillbirths, three deaths during pregnancy, 17 deaths of babies after birth, three deaths of mothers, 47 cases of substandard care and 51 cases of cerebral palsy or brain damage.

The interim report also reveals:

  • Babies left brain-damaged because staff failed to realise or act upon signs that labour was going wrong
  • A failure to adequately monitor heartbeats during labour or assess risks during pregnancy, resulting in the deaths of some babies
  • Babies left brain-damaged from group B strep or meningitis that can often be treated by antibiotics

Trust says it is already improving care

The trust’s interim chief executive Paula Clark apologised to affected families on behalf of the organisation.

'We have not been waiting for Donna Ockenden’s final report before working to improve our services,’ she said. 

'Our focus is on making our maternity service the safest it can be. We still have further to go, but we are seeing some positive outcomes from the work we have done to date.’

A ‘culture of cover-up and denial’

Bill Kirkup, who chaired the Morecambe Bay inquiry into maternity service failings, said: ‘Just like at Morecambe Bay, avoidable tragedies were swept under the carpet, rather than being properly investigated and learned from.

'This culture of cover-up and denial has festered across parts of the healthcare system for too long.

‘It’s vital that efforts to change this are now doubled, and that every maternity unit in the country has the funding needed to ensure that staff are properly supported and trained to provide the safest care possible.’


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