Bereaved Parents Welcome Police Probe into Maternity Cases of ‘Significant Concern’ at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Bereaved parents who have experienced the loss of their newborns have welcomed the initiation of a police investigation into maternity cases “of potential significant concern” at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Nottinghamshire Police’s senior officers are preparing for this investigation, which will run parallel to the ongoing independent review led by Donna Ockenden.

This review is examining over 1,700 cases involving possible harm to newborn babies and mothers, with dozens of fatalities or serious injuries attributed to medical errors.

Families’ Expectations and Police Involvement

Last week, families affected by these cases expressed their expectations for action, and today they voiced their concerns about inadequate maternity care and poor investigation processes.

However, they have welcomed the “long-awaited” police investigation as a step toward accountability.

Bereaved parents whose newborns died have welcomed a police probe into maternity cases ‘of potential significant concern’ at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Pictured: Bereaved parents Sarah and Jack Hawkins, with their daughter Lottie who lost her sister Harriet

Background on Ockenden’s Previous Investigation

Donna Ockenden, a midwifery expert, conducted a previous investigation into services in Shrewsbury and Telford, revealing that at least 201 babies and mothers might have survived with better care.

This earlier investigation highlighted systemic issues in maternity care.

Bereaved parents whose newborns died have welcomed a police probe into maternity cases ‘of potential significant concern’ at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Sarah (pictured left with her husband Gary) who’s baby Wynter died at a Nottingham NHS Trust hospital.

Personal Tragedies

Dr. Jack Hawkins, who lost his daughter Harriet due to failings in 2016, emphasized the profound impact of the scandal, noting the absence of “classrooms” of children in Nottingham as a result of the tragedy.

His wife, Sarah, a former employee of the trust, recounted the heart-wrenching experiences of healthy mothers entering the maternity units but leaving with empty car seats and the trauma of losing their babies.

Accountability and Care Quality

The maternity units at the City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre have received inadequate ratings from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) since 2020.

The death of Baby Wynter Andrews in 2019 led to the trust’s prosecution and an £800,000 fine for its shortcomings.

A Grieving Mother’s Perspective

Wynter’s mother, Sarah, expressed gratitude for the ongoing review, emphasizing that her daily life serves as a constant reminder of her daughter’s absence.

She and her husband desire meaningful change and answers regarding the circumstances that allowed such substandard care to persist.

Police Investigation: Key Developments

Chief Constable Kate Meynell announced the preparation of the police investigation.

The police intend to learn from the West Mercia Police’s investigation in Shrewsbury and Telford and to collaborate with Donna Ockenden’s review.

Preliminary discussions with affected families are also in the planning stage.

Family Allegations and History of Whistleblowing

Affected families in Nottingham underscored that they have alleged crimes and evidence to share with the police.

They cited the 2016 death of Dr. Jack and Sarah Hawkins’ daughter as a pivotal moment when they urged the trust to notify the police about the avoidable death.

Despite repeated discussions with senior figures at the trust and local NHS, these concerns were not adequately addressed.

Trust’s Commitment to Cooperation

Anthony May, the Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, reiterated the commitment to full cooperation with the police investigation.

He emphasized the trust’s dedication to transparency and ongoing engagement with the review led by Donna Ockenden.

The trust’s focus remains on improving maternity services and addressing various aspects, such as staffing, training, compliance, record-keeping, and equipment provision.

Future and Accountability

The families affected by these tragedies seek accountability and justice.

While the review is ongoing and the police investigation is forthcoming, the trust’s chief executive assures the public of ongoing efforts to improve maternity services and foster trust in the community.

Commentary

The police investigation into maternity cases of potential concern at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust represents a significant step toward accountability for affected families.

The tragedy of losing newborns due to medical errors has left lasting scars, and this investigation is a crucial mechanism for seeking answers and justice.

The history of whistleblowing by Dr. Jack and Sarah Hawkins highlights the persistence required to bring these issues to light.

The families affected are now hopeful that the police investigation will not only address the individual cases but also uncover any systemic cover-ups and failings within the trust.

The commitment of the Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to cooperation and transparency underscores the importance of ensuring safe and high-quality maternity care.

Ultimately, the goal is to rebuild trust within the community and prevent such devastating incidents from occurring in the future.

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