Maternity Care In Socialised National Health Service Deemed Unsafe After Official Report

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Maternity care in England’s socialised National Health Service (NHS) has been deemed unsafe and ineffective following a damning official report that found hundreds of mothers and babies died or were severely harmed due to “repeated failures” over decades.

Senior midwife Donna Ockenden was commissioned to lead an investigation into the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust in 2017 by then-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and uncovered an astonishing number of deaths and injuries to babies resulting in brain damage or disability as a result of staff’s obsession with seeing through so-called “normal births” even when a Caesarean section would have been medically appropriate, between 2009 and 2019.

Her five-year investigation managed to identify fully 1,592 incidents which left mothers and babies dead, damaged, or suffering trauma, according to The Times, with the NHS trust papering over the scandal by blaming the patients themselves for what had happened to them and excluding them from internal inquiries in which they cleared themselves of culpability.

Ockenden warned that issues at the trust are “not unique” and that unless 15 “immediate and essential” reforms are implemented “maternity services cannot provide safe and effective care” in England.

“Throughout our final report we have highlighted how failures in care were repeated from one incident to the next. For example, ineffective monitoring of fetal growth and a culture of reluctance to perform caesarean sections resulted in many babies dying during birth or shortly after their birth,” Ockenden said.

“In many cases, mother and babies were left with life-long conditions as a result of their care and treatment,” she lamented, insisting that “The reasons for these failures are clear. There were not enough staff, there was a lack of ongoing training, there was a lack of effective investigation and governance at the Trust and a culture of not listening to the families involved. There was a tendency of the Trust to blame mothers for their poor outcomes, in some cases even for their own deaths.”

“What is astounding is that for more than two decades these issues have not been challenged internally and the Trust was not held to account by external bodies,” Ockenden added, in reference to state regulators such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) — which actually rated maternity care in the trust’s area ‘good’ as recently as 2015.

“This highlights that systemic change is needed locally, and nationally, to ensure that care provided to families is always professional and compassionate, and that teams from ward to board are aware of and accountable for the values and standards that they should be upholding,” she went on, concluding that Going forward, “there can be no excuses, Trust boards must be held accountable for the maternity care they provide. To do this, they must understand the complexities of maternity care and they must receive the funding they require.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, for his part, thanked Donna Ockenden for her report and lamented that her report “paints a tragic and harrowing picture of repeated failures in care over two decades,” adding that he was “deeply sorry to all the families who have suffered so greatly.”

“You were failed by a service that was there to help you and your loved ones to bring life into this world,” he conceded, claiming that those responsible would be “held to account”.

If anyone is held accountable as the minister says, it would be an extremely rare event for a British report into institutional failings to find such an outcome. Whether it is state healthcare providers providing poor or actively harmful care, or local government and police forces turning a blind eye to Muslim-majority grooming rape gangs, few reports into British institutional scandals ever seem to ever result in current or former officials being individually prosecuted or otherwise sanctioned.

In one of the more shocking cases of recent times, for example, an inquest found that a Dr Jane Barton oversaw an “institutionalised practice of the shortening of lives” — what some might describe as “killing” — at Gosport War Memorial Hospital in Hampshire, with at least 456 patients believed to have died as a result of the hospital’s “care”.

The inquest found that the patients were the victims of an “institutionalised regime of prescribing and administering dangerous doses of a hazardous combination of medication not clinically indicated or justified, with patients and relatives powerless in their relationship with professional staff” and that there were “probably” another 200 victims whose fate was partially obscured by missing records.

Nevertheless, Jane Barton has never been charged with any crime, with the General Medical Council (GMC) not even striking her off the medical register after itself finding her guilty of professional misconduct in relation to the death of 12 patients in 2010. She is now retired.

The MailOnline alleges that a number of National Health Service bosses operating at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust during its maternity scandal are still making money from NHS-linked work, including one who lied his way into a £112,000 a year chief executive role by forging a degree certificate to aid his job application.

Another is said to be working as a so-called “continuous improvement consultant” for a U.S. firm being paid millions of pounds by the British government to improve standards at NHS trusts — including the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.


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