After five years of investigation, a report into the practices of the Shrewsbury and Telford Public Hospital Center claims 201 babies could have lived had they received better care at the affected facilities.
A stubborn rejection of Caesarean sections, a lack of proper care and the aftermath of the deaths of more than 200 babies that could have been avoided in two decades: the scale of the scandal that has ravaged English maternity hospitals prompted the British government to take action on Wednesday Excuse. After five years of investigation, the report on the practices of the Shrewsbury and Telford Public Hospital Centre, which manages several birthing centers in this rural region of western England, draws damning conclusions.
He claims that 201 babies could have lived if they had received better care in the affected facilities. Nine mothers also died as a result of abuse, while others were forced to give birth naturally when they should have been offered a cesarean section. “I’m sorry for all the families who have suffered seriously,” British Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs. The report, he conceded, “clearly shows that you were not treated properly by a service designed to help you and your loved ones with childbirth.”
The 250-page report specifically mentions cases of newborns with skull fractures, fractured bones and brain problems after being deprived of oxygen at the time of birth. A quarter of the 498 cases of stillbirth examined were also found to have “significant or major” deficiencies. In 40% of the cases no in-hospital examination was carried out.
The hospital “failed to investigate (the incidents), to learn (from its mistakes), to improve,” Donna Ockenden, who led the investigation, said at a news conference. The complaints started with Richard Stanton and Rhiannon Davies, whose daughter Kate died a few hours after she was born in 2009. According to the report, Ms Davies had not been placed under surveillance at the time of her delivery, although there were several indications that the unborn child was not entirely healthy.
Kayleigh Griffith, whose daughter Pippa died the day after she was born in 2016 when carers were told of worrying symptoms, said the hospital’s mistakes were “disgraceful”.
“It’s really important that maternity services across the country read this report and hear what families have been going through,” she told UK media.
The report, commissioned in 2017 and released Wednesday morning, looked at 1,592 incidents reported mostly between 2000 and 2019, involving 1,486 families visiting the hospital group.
Rep. Jeremy Hunt, who commissioned him to initially investigate 23 cases of alleged misconduct, said the findings of the inquiry were “worse” than he could have imagined.
According to the report, the hospital group, whose director Louise Barnett has apologized, pushed for natural births to minimize caesarean rates and resorted to them all too rarely.
“If we were worried, for example about a baby’s heartbeat, they would try again and again (to avoid the caesarean section) until the baby was very bad (…) because they said that they could reduce the caesarean rate wanted to keep low,” a staffer testified in the report.
The rate of caesarean sections performed at the hospital over the past twenty years has consistently been between 8 and 12 points below the English average, which the hospital welcomed.
“The group believed their maternity service was good. They were wrong,” says Ms. Ockenden.
According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), one in four births in the UK is by Caesarean section.
It took until 2017 for the midwives’ union to end its campaign to promote “natural births” without caesarean sections or even epidurals, and earlier this year the NHS urged hospitals to stop using caesarean rates as an indicator of their performance.