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Hunt apologises to families affected by hospital failings

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has apologised to "every family that has suffered" as a result of "terrible failures" at Furness General Hospital.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt addressing the Commons.

A report published today said a "lethal mix" of problems at the "seriously dysfunctional" maternity unit led to the deaths of 11 babies and one mother.

He described the failings as like a "second Mid Staffs", in reference to the Mid Staffs Hospital scandal, where at least 1,200 patients died because of poor care.

Mr Hunt, who ordered the inquiry, paid tribute to the "courage" of families in their fight for the truth and said they should have been issued an apology earlier.

The Health Secretary said the failings had left "indescribable anguish for the families left behind", adding: "There is no greater pain for a parent than to lose a child and to do so knowing it was because of mistakes that we now know were covered up makes the agony even worse."

Morecambe Bay NHS Trust apologises to families

Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust have apologised "unreservedly" to the families who suffered as a result of failures in one of its hospital's "seriously dysfunctional" maternity units.

Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has apologised over failings at its Furness General Hospital in Barrow, Cumbria Credit: PA Wire

Pearse Butler, Chair of the Trust Board, said: "This Trust made some very serious mistakes in the way it cared for mothers and their babies.

"More than that, the same mistakes were repeated. And after making those mistakes, there was a lack of openness from the Trust in acknowledging to families what had happened.

"For these reasons, on behalf of the Trust, I apologise unreservedly to the families concerned. I'm deeply sorry that so many people have suffered as a result of these mistakes."

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Kirkup: 'Disturbing catalogue of missed opportunities'

The Chairman of the Morecambe Bay Investigation, Dr Bill Kirkup, has said there was a "disturbing catalogue of missed opportunities" at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Bill Kirkup, the chairman of the inquiry. Credit: PA Wire

He said had proper investigations into serious incidents been conducted as far back as 2004 it would have raised the alarm about the level of maternity and paediatric care being provided.

"There was a disturbing catalogue of missed opportunities, initially and most significantly by the Trust but subsequently involving the North West Strategic Health Authority, the Care Quality Commission, Monitor, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Department of Health," Dr Kirkup said.

"Over the next three years, there were at least seven opportunities to intervene that were missed. The result was that no effective action was taken until the beginning of 2012."

Report set to expose 'failings' behind baby deaths

Persistent failures at a maternity unit contributed to the unneccesary deaths of up to 30 infants and mothers, a report published today is expected to find.

The report looks into failings at Furness General Hospital in Barrow, Cumbria. Credit: PA

The Morecambe Bay Investigation is set to claim that a "turf war" between midwives and doctors led to poor communications at the unit at Furness General Hospital in Barrow, Cumbria.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who ordered the inquiry, said at its launch in 2013 that the main aim was to uncover what went "desperately wrong" and ensure no repeat could take place.

Six midwives from Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the unit, are facing disciplinary hearings by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the coming months.

In January 2014, one of the midwives received an 18-month interim suspensions following allegations over the care of a baby born in a "poor condition" the previous September.

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Call to ban unhealthy food ads before watershed

The UK has the highest rate of childhood obesity in western Europe. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Nearl two-thirds of people want to see a ban on adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt before the watershed, research has found.

The survey, commissioned by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) also found that nine out of ten would like to see better teaching about how to eat healthily in schools.

The body's president, Dr Hilary Cass, said the next government must take action as the UK has the worst child mortality rate in western Europe and the highest rate of childhood obesity.

As well as 64% supporting a ban on advertising unhealthy foods before 9pm, 62% said increasing spending on research to improve young people's health should be a prirority.

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