Probe into scandal-hit NHS Trust is now looking at nearly 1,200 cases

Probe into baby deaths at scandal-hit Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust is now looking at nearly 1,200 cases

  • Letters today sent to 400 families inviting them to take participate in the inquiry
  • Review chair urges others wanting inclusion to come forward by the end of May 
  • More than 90 babies died or suffered severe harm and disability due to failings 

A probe into poor maternity services and preventable baby deaths at an NHS hospital trust is now looking into nearly 1,200 cases.

Letters were sent to 400 of the families today, inviting them to participate in the review into what happened at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH).

More than 90 babies died or suffered severe harm and disability due to medical failings between 1979 and 2017. 

The inquiry was commissioned by then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2017, following concerns raised by the parents of Kate Stanton-Davies and Pippa Griffiths, who died shortly after birth in 2009 and 2016 respectively.

Rhiannon Davies’ daughter Kate Stanton-Davies (pictured together) died due to medical mistakes at Ludlow Community Hospital in 2009

Donna Ockenden, who is leading the review, said the number of cases involved had now reached 1,170, and urged any further families wishing to be included in the inquiry to come forward by the end of next month.  

She said: ‘By writing to all these families I am giving them the opportunity to ask questions about our independent review so they can make a choice as to whether they want their care to be independently reviewed by my team.

‘We appreciate that any contact can be unsettling for families, but it is vital that our independent review reaches out to all potentially affected families.

‘I want to assure people that despite this Covid crisis, progress is continuing, and today I am making one last appeal to any family yet to get in touch to please do so by May 2020.

‘I have made a commitment to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to deliver my final review report. We have to give ourselves the time to write the report and ensure it does justice to the testimony we have heard from families.

‘So please get in touch by the end of May. Your story is important to us.’ 

Richard Stanton and Rhiannon Stanton-Davies (pictured) from Ludlow, Shropshire, whose baby Kate Stanton-Davies died in 2009 shortly after birth due to there not being any doctors available in the maternity ward

A total of 23 families were originally included in the review – before a further 330 cases were identified by the trust’s own investigation into its maternity care.

Those 330 families received letters on Tuesday, as well as 70 others who had come forward after hearing reports in the media.

Earlier this year, hospital bosses announced that £1m it was paid by the NHS for providing ‘good maternity care’ was being returned.

The trust claimed to be meeting 10 safety standards set out by NHS Resolution to be awarded the sum in September 2018.

Weeks after the £953,391 payment was made, however, the trust’s childbirth services were rated ‘inadequate’ by inspectors at the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The trust said an ‘incorrect submission’ had been made and that it had ordered an independent review.

Kate Stanton-Davies died due to medical mistakes at Ludlow Community Hospital, pictured, in 2009

It had emerged that the funds were paid to SaTH while inspectors were still assessing it.

Louise Barnett, chief executive of SaTH, said the trust had reassessed its submission to NHS Resolution and would be repaying the money.

‘Although some good progress had been made, we did not have sufficient evidence to support the required 100% compliance in all of the standards,’ she said, adding that internal auditors ‘have been commissioned to undertake an independent review’.

‘We acknowledge that our systems need to be more robust. We are continuing to review and strengthen our governance processes, to provide additional rigour and scrutiny at all levels, which I welcome,’ Ms Barnett said. 


Katie Wilkins’ baby girl died at Shrewsbury Hospital after midwives left her in a side room for 48 hours and failed to properly monitor her.

Miss Wilkins was 15 days overdue when she arrived at the hospital to be induced in February 2013. There were no beds available on the busy labour ward and Miss Wilkins, 24, claims she was ‘forgotten’ in the room for two days and visited by staff just a handful of times.

Katie Wilkins’ baby girl died at Shrewsbury Hospital after midwives left her in a side room for 48 hours and failed to properly monitor her. Miss Wilkins pictured with partner Dave Jackson, 45

When a midwife did come to check on her progress they realised her baby’s heartbeat could not be found. Maddie was delivered stillborn in the early hours of the following day.

Hospital bosses later admitted the baby would have been born alive had they treated her in a more ‘timely’ manner.

Miss Wilkins said: ‘Maddie’s death was recorded as unexplained but we know why she died – because the midwives didn’t do their jobs properly.

‘I’d had a perfectly normal pregnancy and didn’t expect any problems with the birth. But I was left for hours at a time. The hospital was very busy and I felt like they simply forgot about me.

‘Giving birth to my stillborn daughter was heartbreaking. I should have been taking her home with me, but instead she had to stay at the hospital in a Moses basket. It was awful.’

Maddie was delivered stillborn in the early hours of February 21. The results of a post-mortem examination said the 6lbs 14oz baby girl’s death was unexplained.

In a letter to Miss Wilkins, Cathy Smith, head of midwifery at the hospital, apologised and admitted: ‘Had your induction occurred more timely, Maddison would likely to have been born alive.’ She added that practices at the hospital had now changed.

Miss Wilkins – who has since had a son and daughter with her partner Dave Jackson, 45, – is sceptical. She said: ‘We were told that changes would be made and women would be properly monitored, but now it seems that never happened.

‘The hospital think they can say sorry and we should move on, but we can’t.’

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