Sands has responded to the interim findings of the independent review of maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals (SaTH) NHS Trust by a team led by midwifery expert Donna Ockenden, which published its first report today (10 December).

The report outlines the local actions for learning for the Trust and immediate and essential actions for the Trust and the wider system that are required to be implemented now to improve safety in maternity services for the Trust and across England.

Sands is part of a dedicated service that supports those affected at SaTH NHS Trust and we hope that the ongoing care needs of families involved in reviews can remain a priority in this and other inquiries.

It is shocking that so many babies have died at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust. We are here to offer bereavement support to all those parents and families affected, who will be going through unbearable pain following their loss.

What makes this even more upsetting is that many of these deaths could have been avoided. Time and again reports have told us what’s going wrong in failing maternity units. Action is now urgently needed at every level, from clinical training to management ethos, to change the culture that enables these failures to keep happening and for babies to keep dying as a result.

If the UK is to be the safest place in the world to have a baby we need a culture of openness where human errors or systemic failings must be acknowledged and lessons learned by Trusts.

Sands is working hard to improve care, with the NHS and UK governments, and to support Trusts to make vital improvements. But there also needs to be much better understanding about which initiatives are working on the ground, what actions are outstanding from previous inquiries and what support hospitals need to provide the safest care possible.

- Clea Harmer, Chief Executive, Sands

Sands is here to support anyone affected by the death of a baby, including healthcare professionals. Sands’ free Helpline is available on 0808 164 3332 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 6-9pm Tuesday and Thursday evenings. You can also email for support.

The full report is available to download here


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