Monthly Archives: April 2017

Babies die – but no accountability

Thursday’s Board meeting of SaTH, our local hospital organisation, was downright bizarre. They closed most of the building where the meeting was held. Members of the public were greeted by security guards on our way in, and taken to a separate room to wait. Our bags were searched as we entered the building. Anyone visiting the toilet was carefully watched, with a security guard waiting outside. Three security guards sat around the sides of the room throughout the meeting. They were pleasant individuals and somewhat embarrassed – but it all felt closer to a high security prison than a public Board meeting. According to NHS England, the ‘purpose of NHS boards is to govern effectively, and in so doing build patient, public and stakeholder confidence that their health and healthcare is in safe hands’. Our Board’s approach to building confidence now seems to be to regard the public with hostility and suspicion.

There may be a reason for their fear. We believe they were trying to keep quiet about a series of avoidable deaths in local maternity services – and the truth about those deaths is now starting to emerge. In February, Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt ordered a review into a cluster of baby deaths in Shropshire. That review is now looking at the deaths of fifteen babies and three mothers. At least seven baby deaths between September 2014 and May 2016 have already been shown to be avoidable – they simply should not have happened.

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An Unfolding Tragedy

Resign – and Suspend

How many more babies have to die in Shropshire’s maternity service? How many more have to be left with lifelong disabilities as a result of hospital mistakes? We have been told again and again by hospital chiefs that ‘lessons have been learned’ – and each time, more babies have died.

There is a catastrophic failure of leadership in our local hospitals, the Royal Shrewsbury and Telford’s Princess Royal (‘SaTH’).

If Chief Executive Simon Wright cannot guarantee safe patient care, he should resign.

As Medical Director, Dr Edwin Borman is directly responsible for the quality and safety of patient care. There is now an investigation into the deaths of babies in Shropshire’s maternity service, ordered by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Dr Borman should be suspended until that investigation has completed.

When Medical Director Edwin Dr Borman responds to reports of avoidable baby deaths by saying ‘When I look at the perinatal mortality rate at our trust compared to the rest of the NHS, we are at an equivalent level to the rest of the country,’ he shows that he is not fit to do his job. The coroner and the courts have found that babies in Shropshire have died avoidable deaths. Every one of those deaths is both a tragedy and a disgrace. Hiding behind averages, when babies have died unnecessarily, is as unacceptable as it gets.

The heart breaking tragedy of avoidable baby deaths

On Wednesday last week, the BBC broke the news. Most of us know about the tragic death of Kate Stanton Davies in 2009 – and the desperate attempts of SaTH, the hospital trust, to evade taking responsibility for her death.

We now know of many more deaths of babies. Jenson Barnett, June 2013. Twins Ella and Lola Greene, September 2014. Sophiya Hotchkiss, September 2014. Oliver Smale, March 2015. Jack Burn, March 2015. Kye Hall, August 2015. Graham Scott Holmes-Smith, December 2015. Ivy Morris, December 2015. Pippa Griffiths, May 2016. All but two of these deaths have been ruled as ‘avoidable’ by the coroner or the courts. The remaining two are regarded as ‘suspicious’. Continue reading