Nottingham Maternity Scandal: 1700 cases are to be investigated
A review into poor maternity care in Nottingham is now investigating 1700 cases, making it the largest carried out in the UK.
Posted on 10 July 2023
The review is being led by Senior Midwife Donna Ockenden who is looking into care provided at Nottingham’s City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC), run by Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH).
She is investigating cases from 2012 until present involving families who have suffered stillbirths, neonatal deaths from 24 weeks gestation up to 28 days of life, babies diagnosed with brain injuries, maternal deaths up to 42 days post-partum and severe maternal harm. It is estimated that the Nottingham Maternity Review Findings will be published in March 2024.
Donna Ockenden previously oversaw an investigation into the poor maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. Other recent investigations into maternity care have also taken place at Morecambe Bay and at East Kent Hospitals. The investigation into East Kent Hospitals carried out by Dr Bill Kirkup revealed that as many as 45 babies’ deaths could have been prevented had the proper care been provided.
At the end of November 2022 and at the end of January 2023, NUH wrote to more than 1300 families to notify them that their loved one’s care had been selected to be investigated by the Maternity Review. In some instances, families were unaware that their loved one had potentially received poor care when they were contacted by NUH.
Usually, families would give their consent to be part of a review. However, NHS England has now written to all affected families, confirming cases will be dealt with on an opt-out basis. This means all the families impacted by the scandal will be included in the review unless they say they do not want to be.
Leigh Day is currently representing and supporting a number of families involved in the Nottingham Maternity Review.
Adam Lamb, a solicitor who is representing one family contacted by the Nottingham Maternity Review, said:
“It is extremely concerning to read about the scope and scale of Donna Ockenden’s review into maternity services at Nottingham. After a series of scandals in maternity services in Morecambe Bay, East Kent and Shrewsbury, it is about time lessons were learnt and that the Government provide adequate funding and support for all maternity services throughout the country so that the NHS can provide a safe and competent maternity services.”
Emmalene Bushnell, who is also representing another family that has been contacted by the Nottingham Maternity Review, said:
“Having acted for bereaved families in respect of East Kent, I had hoped that those brave parents would not have to read of another maternity review so soon after the publication of Dr Kirkup's report. With Ms Ockenden's review not due until next year, I would hope that these families are listened to, lessons are learnt, and we are not discussing another maternity review in the months and years to come.”
Emmalene is a partner and experienced clinical negligence lawyer with over 15 years' experience.