24 February 2022
Dunne calls for lessons to be learned across Government from Ockenden review into maternity care in Shropshire

Philip Dunne highlights the BBC Panorama programme on failures in maternity care resulting in the tragic loss and harm of babies at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and calls for the Government to make a full response to conclusions of the Ockendon review so that lessons are made across Government and not just at the Trust.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow) (Con)

Last night’s “Panorama” programme was harrowing viewing about the loss and harm of babies under Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust care going back decades. Much of this was revealed through the Ockenden inquiry, which was launched by the then Health Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Jeremy Hunt) at the request and through the tenacity of my then constituents Rhiannon Davies and Richard Stanton, who featured in the programme and suffered their own tragedy that they wished to see no other parents go through. The programme alleged that a culture existed promoting normal birth practices so that the trust had the lowest rate of C-section interventions in the country. Those who raised patient safety concerns were not taken sufficiently seriously and were apparently subject to bullying. I know that the trust has taken significant steps to improve its practices and acted on all recommendations that Donna Ockenden produced in her initial report in December 2020, since when about 4,000 babies have been delivered safely under the trust’s care. Her final report is expected later this month. Will the Leader of the House ensure that a full response is made to the conclusions of that report in this House so that the Government take heed of the lessons to be learned not just in SATH but across maternity services throughout the NHS?

Mark Spencer (The Leader of the House of Commons)

I know that my right hon. Friend is a long-standing campaigner on this matter, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Telford (Lucy Allan). The Ockenden review is assessing the quality of investigations relating to cases of newborn, infant and maternal harm at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. Donna Ockenden is finalising her second report, as he said, and it is due to be published in March 2022—very shortly. We have Health questions next Tuesday, and I am sure the Department will want to update the House on this matter at the earliest opportunity.