Nottinghamshire Police to launch investigation into baby deaths and injuries at maternity unit

7 September 2023, 14:23

Police are preparing to launch an investigation into maternity care at an under-review NHS trust
Police are preparing to launch an investigation into maternity care at an under-review NHS trust. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Police are set to launch an investigation into dozens of baby deaths and injuries at a hospital trust.

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It comes as Donna Ockenden, a midwife at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUHT), carries out a review into care at the hospital trust.

More than 1,700 cases are being examined by Ms Ockenden after 650 staff came forward with concerns in the year since the review started.

It will attempt to determine whether failings led to babies dying or being injured at Nottingham City Hospital and the Queen's Medical Centre.

Families of babies and mothers affected by the review have "welcomed" the force's decision to launch an investigation
Families of babies and mothers affected by the review have "welcomed" the force's decision to launch an investigation. Picture: Getty

Several families have been calling on Nottinghamshire Police to investigate whether any laws had been broken.

In a statement issued on behalf of some of the families affected, they said: "A large number of us have alleged crimes and we will be sharing our evidence with the police to assist them with their investigations."

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Chief Constable Kate Meynell said: "On Wednesday I met with Donna Ockenden to discuss her independent review into maternity cases of potentially significant concern at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) and to build up a clearer picture of the work that is taking place.

"We want to work alongside the review but also ensure that we do not hinder its progress. However, I am in a position to say we are preparing to launch a police investigation.

"I have appointed the Assistant Chief Constable, Rob Griffin, to oversee the preparations and the subsequent investigation."

Queen's Medical Centre University Hospital
Queen's Medical Centre University Hospital. Picture: Alamy

West Mercia Police launched their own investigation in June 2020 into maternity practices at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.

This was also carried out by Ms Ockenden, and found that 201 babies and nine mothers could have survived with better maternity care over two decades.

"We are currently looking at the work being done in Shrewsbury and Telford by West Mercia Police to understand how they conducted their investigation alongside Donna Ockenden's review and any lessons learnt," Ms Meynell continued.

"Now we have met with Donna Ockenden we plan to hold preliminary discussions with some local families in the near future."

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