London: More than 200 babies could have survived had they been given better care at birth, a damning report into Britain’s biggest maternity scandal said on Wednesday, prompting a government apology.
The report listed a catalogue of repeated failings at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust over a 20-year period from 2000 to 2019.
Babies were stillborn, died shortly after birth or were left severely brain-damaged, according to the review, which was ordered in 2017 after concern at the high rates of neonatal deaths at the hospital group.
It also disclosed that nine of 12 mothers who died during the period could have had “significantly” better treatment, and others were made to have natural births when they should have been offered Caesarean sections.
But the state-funded group, which operates several hospitals in Shropshire, central England, either failed to investigate sufficiently or learn from the cases. The report’s author, maternity expert Donna Ockenden, said that meant “the true scale of serious incidents… went unknown over a long period of time”.
“To all the families that have suffered so gravely, I am sorry,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid told parliament, vindicating years of campaigning by those affected. “The report clearly shows that you were failed by a service that was there to help you and your loved ones to bring life into this world.”