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Woman in premature labor with fetal monitor.  Photo by Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash

Shropshire Greens respond to the Ockenden Shropshire maternity enquiry

6th April 2022

Speaking today Green Party Councillor Julia Evans said “This report was more
shocking than words can express, and our thoughts go out to all the families
damaged by such appalling failures over so long.”

“Shock was not just from the cases themselves, the lack of reasonable care being
an omission in the duty of care, but that the safety net of bodies who should have
picked this up sooner, internally, and externally failed monumentally. The
Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust failed to examine these serious incidents, failed to
notice near misses and failed to learn anything at all by trying to maintain the
corporate façade.”

“Warnings to Staff not to discuss any case with the enquiry is shameful and backs
the recent Staff Survey in which the Staff rate the Trust as the 5th worst to work for in England.”

Previous Staff survey cited 1 in 4 members of Staff felt bullied!
This is the background to this enquiry – insufficient Staff too often at odds with each other,
some over-confident in their abilities, some feeling unable to escalate to
Consultants when they felt those they were caring for were in difficulty. Policies
and Procedures not in line with National guidance, knowledge not expanded due
to a failure to continually train, gain knowledge, mentor, and value experience.

Commenting further, Councillor Julia Evans said “These known shortcomings were
all picked up in previous Reports and so there is a hopelessness in the further failure
to learn from mistakes or is it just said to make us believe ‘lessons are learnt’ when
they so clearly never have been.”

Externally, the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Care Quality
Commission both inspected the Maternity Services at the Shrewsbury and Telford
Hospital Trust and found them to be good, though in the Ockenden Report it was
described as some results giving a ‘false reassurance’. There is another safety net
that has not appeared to have flagged these avoidable deaths, the Coroner.

Councillor Julia insists “At any one point, so many incidents over so many years
could and should have triggered investigation by the three bodies which are in
place for that reason, but it took two determined couples to join with many others
and, despite their awful distress, they had to shout for a whole decade just to be
heard.”

Also commenting, John Crowe and Clare Nash, co-leaders of ‘Healthy Greens’
said “Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, at Royal Shrewsbury and Princess
Elizabeth hospitals are operating an unsafe maternity service.”

“The shame and the sadness is that they are not alone. Morecombe Bay, Bristol,
Stafford are also investigations that have hit headlines in recent years, Nottingham
and Kent yet to come. It is a catastrophic mismanagement and corporate market
place paradigms that have plagued the NHS since 2012.”

Healthy Greens will pursue how progress with the recommendations will be
tracked and improvements sustained, and how the Trust is tackling the woeful
results from the staff survey?

All three agree, “We need to ask ourselves if we want a health business or a health
service. We, as a Green Party join with so many others who expect our National
Health Service to be ‘fit for purpose’ - for every patient, every time. We continue to
push for wholly adequate numbers of appropriately trained and supported
clinicians at every level in every setting.”

 

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