Hospital trust announces inquiry

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has announced an independent inquiry into maternity and neonatal services.

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MP welcomes hospital inquiry

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed the move by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust to review its maternity and neonatal services.

Mr Farron said the inquiry is "an overdue but welcome step forward to get justice for victims" of past failings.

"This inquiry is overdue and is something we have called for over many months in meetings with the trust and with health ministers.

"I think it is vital we get to the truth of what happened and that people are held accountable for their actions. I want this review to be serious, rigorous and fair so I look forward to seeing the terms of reference.

“I do not want this report to be a whitewash, it must be fair and honest and the trust must be prepared to hold their hands up and admit major failings. I_ will make sure that this report lands on health ministers' desks and I will continue to press for an external and public inquiry after the police have finished their investigations.”_

– Tim Farron MP, Lib Dem, Westmorland and Lonsdale

Statement from Trust Chairman

It is imperative that the Trust fully understands the underlying causes of the previous failures to provide the required standards of care in maternity and neonatal services within its hospitals.The Board agreed in June 2012 to commission an independently Chaired internal inquiry to investigate failings in the maternity and neonatal services provided by the Trust in the years leading up to 2011. The Board was not satisfied with the previous reports produced, but felt it prudent to wait for the police investigation to progress to a more advanced stage before proceeding.

The Board has today agreed to progress with this decision. The inquiry will also review the findings reached in earlier reports commissioned by regulators and progress made in meeting the recommendations made in those reports.Whilst good progress has been made in improving safety and standards of care across our maternity units, there is still much to do to ensure their sustainability well into the future. It is important that the Trust and the wider NHS is able to learn from its previous failings as they can never be allowed to happen again.

The outcome of the inquiry will be shared, in full, with the public.The inquiry will commence following the conclusion of the on-going police investigation into the death of babies and mothers, following care received at Furness General Hospital. The Trust continues to fully co-operate with Cumbria Constabulary.The Board is progressing the identification of a suitably qualified and experienced person to undertake the independent Chair role. The independent Chair will determine the inquiry team and approve any terms of reference.

– Sir David Henshaw, Chair, UHMBT

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