Police Investigation Launched into Maternity Cases at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Following Families’ Pleas for Justice

Police Investigation Launched into Maternity Cases at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Following Families’ Pleas for Justice

In a significant development, Chief Constable Kate Meynell has announced the initiation of an investigation, shedding light on the work conducted by West Mercia Police in Shrewsbury and Telford.

The objective is to gain insights into their investigative approach in conjunction with Donna Ockenden’s ongoing review, and to draw valuable lessons from their findings.

Families’ Encouraging Response

In response to this announcement, affected families in Nottingham have expressed their gratitude and anticipation for this long-awaited police investigation.

They believe that the extensive pool of information from victim families will provide valuable resources for the police team.

Many among them have reported alleged crimes and are willing to share their evidence to support the investigative process.

Over the years, there has been a documented pattern of inadequate maternity care at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUHT), coupled with subpar investigations into these matters.

The families’ stance underscores their determination to seek justice and accountability.

A History of Concerns and Whistleblowing

The road to this police investigation began in 2016 when Dr. Jack and Sarah Hawkins, following the tragic death of their daughter Harriet, raised the issue of her avoidable death through whistleblowing letters and conversations.

Their primary concern was not only the quality of care but also the conduct of staff responsible for investigating and learning from such cases.

These concerns, repeatedly voiced to NUHT leadership and the local NHS over the years, have now culminated in the decision to involve law enforcement.

Trust’s Commitment to Cooperation

Anthony May, Chief Executive of NUH, has pledged full cooperation with the police investigation.

He has consistently supported the Independent Review led by Donna Ockenden and extends the same commitment to the police inquiry.

The trust emphasizes its dedication to maintaining an open and transparent relationship with the affected families.

Their commitment extends to addressing feedback from the review process and ongoing improvements in maternity services, including staffing, training, compliance, record-keeping, and equipment provisions.

A recent inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reported improvements, with a detailed formal report set for publication on September 13.

A Heartbreaking Toll on Families

Dr. Jack Hawkins, who lost his daughter Harriet in 2016 due to medical failings, expressed the profound impact of the scandal, noting the void it has left in the Nottingham community.

His wife, Sarah, who also worked for the trust, recalled the anguish of healthy mothers entering the hospital with their newborns, only to leave with empty car seats and tiny white coffins.

This tragic loss underscores the gravity of the situation and the need for accountability.

Maternity Units Under Scrutiny

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

The death of baby Wynter Andrews in 2019 at the Queen’s Medical Centre led to legal action against the trust, resulting in a fine of £800,000 for its lapses in care.

Hoping for Change and Accountability

Sarah Andrews, Wynter’s mother, expressed her gratitude for the review and her hope for change.

She emphasized that every day serves as a painful reminder of Wynter’s absence and the need for answers.

The affected families are counting on Donna Ockenden’s review to uncover the circumstances that allowed substandard care to persist within the trust.

A Commitment to Progress and Accountability

Chief Executive May affirmed the trust’s commitment to transparency and progress.

He acknowledged that there is still much work to be done but assured the community that maternity services are steadily improving.

The goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of women, families, and staff through a comprehensive maternity improvement program.

The trust recognizes the importance of maintaining the trust and confidence of the local community and is determined to address the issues at hand, whatever the cost or effort required.

Appointment of Oversight

To oversee the preparatory stages and subsequent investigation, Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin has been appointed, signaling the seriousness and dedication with which the investigation will be conducted.

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