NHS Confederation responds to Ockenden review

Layla McCay responds to the publication of the Ockenden review.

30 March 2022

Responding to the independent Ockenden Review of maternity services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at NHS Confederation, said:

“This review highlights in detail serious failings in maternity care, quality and governance and lays bare the truly distressing experiences of these families and the extremely poor quality care they were given.

“Nothing can ever make up for the loss of a child or the harm these mothers were subjected to. For these families their pain is compounded by the knowledge that these deaths could have been avoided.

“The NHS will closely examine and seek to understand these findings in detail and be ready to do all it takes to improve the provision of its maternity services across the board.

“The review highlights the need for increased investment in recruitment and retention of maternity staff in order to reduce the pressure on understaffing in these services, something which NHS leaders strongly support.  It also shines a spotlight on the systemic failures that included external bodies and regulators – something which must also be addressed with urgency.

“The recent announcement of a £127m funding boost for maternity services and the fact that the NHS now has chief midwifery officer in post are both welcome and important.  However, the amount of funding available for maternity units still falls well short of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee’s recommendations last year that an additional £200-350m was needed.

“Healthcare leaders know how vital it is that they drive accountable cross-service change and actively engage with their workforce, with professional bodies and families so that no one again has to live through an experience so harrowing.

“It is now crucial that everyone keeps pursuing the highest quality maternity care for parents and their babies over the long term.”