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Hospital boss apologises to families after mother and baby deaths | UK News

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The chief executive of a hospital trust where babies and mothers died due to major failings has offered her “unreserved apologies” to families affected.

Paula Clark told Sky News the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust didn’t act fast enough to improve maternity care after concerns were raised in 2007.

Babies and mothers died at the hospital in what is likely to be the worst ever NHS maternity scandal.

Rhiannon Davies pregnant with her daughter Kate Stanton Davies who died shortly after birth in 2009. Pic: Richard Stanton
Image:
Rhiannon Davies pregnant with her daughter Kate Stanton Davies who died shortly after birth in 2009. Pic: Richard Stanton

A toxic culture was in place stretching back 40 years when babies and mothers suffered avoidable death, according to a report leaked to The Independent.

Ms Clark, who is the interim chief executive of the hospital, said: “I would like to offer our unreserved apologies to the families that have been affected.”

She added: “I know that this has been life-changing for the families and I think we need to acknowledge that.”

Ms Clark said she is working with maternity expert Donna Ockenden, who is leading an inquiry into the trust, to look at reasons why families have been raising concerns.

She said her main concern was ensuring the hospital is working effectively with mums at risk, while ensuring new mothers also go down the right pathway for their particular needs.

Paula Clark has apologised to families affected by the maternity scandal
Image:
Paula Clark has apologised to families affected by the maternity scandal

Ms Clark also admitted the hospital was too slow to implement steps to improve maternity care when concerns were first raised in 2007.

She said: “I think we have to acknowledge that we haven’t moved as fast as we needed to on this.

“The secretary of state challenge which was published in 2015 was a national challenge to reduce stillbirths and neonatal deaths – we’ve picked that up, we’ve moved forward with that and we’re ahead of that.

“And that was to reduce neonatals and stillbirths by 20% by 2020, and we’re ahead of that now.”



A mother whose baby died shortly after birth has now called for a corporate manslaughter charge to be brought



A mother whose baby died shortly after birth has now called for a corporate manslaughter charge to be brought

Ms Clark said the hospital has been following the Saving Babies’ Lives initiative which was published in 2017, and said the hospital has seen a reduction in stillbirths and neonatal deaths as a result.

Sky News understands 90 people have contacted solicitors since the leaked report last week, and there are 270 cases being reviewed in relation to the maternity scandal.

Rhiannon Davies with her daughter Kate Stanton Davies who died shortly after birth in 2009. Pic: Richard Stanton
Image:
Rhiannon Davies with her daughter Kate Stanton Davies who died shortly after birth in 2009. Pic: Richard Stanton

The report showed staff at the trust routinely dismissed parents’ concerns, were unkind, got dead babies’ names wrong and in one instance referred to a baby who died as “it”.

In another case, parents were not told their baby’s body had arrived back from the post-mortem and the body was left to decompose so badly that the family never got to say a final goodbye.

Children were also left with permanent disability while there was substandard care at the hospital.

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