UK hospitals told to improve after maternity scandal report

Health

LONDON (AP) — A review into a scandal-hit English hospital trust has found a pattern of failures and poor maternal care that led in some cases to avoidable deaths and harm to mothers and newborns, and said grieving mothers were at times blamed for their loss.

Thursday’s report into the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust looked into more than 1,800 cases of alleged harm to families from 2000 to 2019, including cases of stillbirth, neonatal death, maternal death and other severe complications in mothers and newborns.

The authors said that when completed, the review will be the largest such investigation into a single service in the history of Britain’s National Health Service.

The review listed numerous cases of birth trauma that it said could have been avoided, and said deaths were often not investigated. The report added that there was a culture among clinicians at the trust to keep Caesarean section rates low. It said that in some cases, opting to perform Caesarean deliveries earlier would have avoided death and injury.

“Inappropriate language had been used at times causing distress. There have been cases where women were blamed for their loss and this further compounded their grief,” the report said.

“There have also been cases where women and their families raised concerns about their care and were dismissed, or not listened to at all.”

Author Donna Ockenden, a former senior midwife, said poor care at the trust “caused untold pain and distress, including, sadly, deaths of mothers and babies.”

The review began in 2018 after two families that had lost their babies campaigned for an inquiry.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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