The previous Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a review of baby deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust in 2017. The purpose of the review was to investigate avoidable baby deaths at both the Telford's Princess Royal and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

The independent review initially focused on 23 cases in which maternity failings were alleged. The review is being led by midwife Donna Ockenden.

The NHS Improvement asked Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust for details on all cases of potential errors and since then BBC Social Affairs Correspondent Michael Buchanan has now confirmed that over 300 new cases had been raised with concerns over the care provided.

NHS Improvement has since asked for details of cases involving stillbirths, brain damaged babies and neonatal deaths since 1998.

An NHS Improvement spokesman has said: "As part of the independent Ockenden Review, the trust was requested to share all potentially relevant information relating to maternity to establish if any more cases should be included in this investigation so that all families are given the answers they need and lessons are learned."

The Trust was put into special measures in November 2018. The CQC acted in May 2019 and applied “Further urgent action” sanctions over the same concerns following inspection of two sites run by the same Trust.

For more information about the reports on Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust please see the following links:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-48746832

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-46137864

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-48227357

The Ockenden review and the issues raised are strikingly similar to a review into deaths of a number of babies between 2013 and 2016 at the Royal Derby Hospital.

The Perinatal Institute (which aims to improve the safety and quality of maternity care) examined 41 neo-natal deaths and stillbirths. Their investigations found that scans were not performed (breaching NHS guidance), worrying symptoms went undiagnosed and opportunities were missed.

The report confirmed that nineteen of those deaths may have been caused by failures in the care provided and “might or should have been avoided”. 

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (now known as the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust) said at the time: "The report has shown that on occasion the care we have offered has fallen short of the expected standard and for this we are sincerely sorry.” The Trust went on to alter a number of their internal procedures.

There were 16 stillbirths recorded in 2018 at the Royal Derby Hospital, with the same amount in 2017 and more than double (37 stillbirths) in 2016.

The University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust now have confirmed their aim to halve maternal mortality, neonatal mortality, stillbirths, and serious brain injury in newborn babies by 2025.

The trust says that the “continuity of care during pregnancy, birth and after birth will be improved, bed capacity in intensive neonatal care will increase in areas where this is currently lacking and mental health services and other support for pregnant women and new mothers will be improved”.

For more information about the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust investigations please see the following links:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-43166434

https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/more-million-spent-halve-stillbirths-2870697

Freeths’ Clinical Negligence Solicitors have a national reputation for providing the highest quality legal advice following failures by medical professionals to provide appropriate care during pregnancy, labour, delivery and in the neonatal period. We have specialist expertise in clinical negligence cases surrounding stillbirth and baby loss.

In addition to our years of knowledge we are proud to confirm that we have three solicitors in our national clinical negligence team who are the recommended solicitors for the Staffordshire, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire regions for the Foundation for Infant Loss.

If you, or someone you know, requires specialist advice please contact us for a free initial discussion:

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent/Birmingham/Manchester/Liverpool) on 0845 272 5677 or karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes/Bristol/London) on 0186 578 1019 or carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk (Foundation for Infant Loss recommended Solicitor for Buckinghamshire)

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester/Nottingham/Sheffield/Leeds) on 0845 272 5724 or jane.williams@freeths.co.uk (Foundation for Infant Loss recommended Solicitor for Leicestershire)