Philip Dunne calls for Ockenden review interim report on current safety of maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals

15th January 2020

Philip Dunne speaks in a Parliamentary debate on the Ockenden review into maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust and calls for an interim report on the current state of practice in Shropshire and Telford to reassure expectant mums who are about to use these services.

I am most grateful to my hon. Friend. I completely agree with my constituency neighbour, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), that she is making a powerful case. It is quite right that she has brought this issue forward. On the subject of current practice versus some of the cases that are being considered in the Ockenden review, which stretches back 40 years, she will remember that it was initiated by the case of a couple who were constituents of mine. They lost their baby in 2009, over 10 years ago. Their concern was that, as my hon. Friend rightly identifies, the case had been inadequately handled and effectively covered up by the hospital.

One of my concerns, in addition to getting to the bottom of what has happened over a long period of time, is that we need to be reassured, as local Members of Parliament serving our constituents today, that the maternity services available to people in Shropshire are safe and of high quality. It would be helpful if in some way, given the scale of the inquiry that Ockenden is undertaking, there could be some interim finding on the current state of practice in Shropshire and Telford, so that at least expectant mums who are going to use those services can feel reassured. That would not prevent a more detailed inquiry going back into past practice. Does she agree with me on that point?

My right hon. Friend makes an excellent point. That might be something that the Minister can address, because we want users of maternity services to have absolute confidence in the care that they receive. However, we do not create confidence by hiding facts. If we can get some of the facts out that have been leaked to the media, let us do that and deal with those. He is absolutely right that that will help to reassure parents and give them confidence in the services that are being delivered—the vast majority receive a very good standard of care, and safe care.

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