Series of 'avoidable' baby deaths at NHS trust being investigated

A series of baby deaths at an NHS trust are being investigated by health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The "avoidable deaths" occurred over a two-year period at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

A failure to properly monitor the baby's heart rate is said to have been a contributory factor in five of seven deaths.

The Trust's maternity services were severely criticised in an official report published last year.

It followed the death of baby Kate Stanton-Davies in March 2009.

The Trust was criticised in an official report last year.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said improvements have since been made and their mortality rates are in line with the national average.

A spokesman said: "There have been, sadly, some mums who have had unexpected deaths during or shortly after labour.

"In every tragic case we have made the learning public; our Maternity service and hospital Trust Board have looked at the circumstances to see how we can learn and, in so doing, make our services even safer."

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "Earlier this year, the Health Secretary asked NHS regulators to undertake an investigation at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust in light of disclosures that in a number of tragic cases standards of care fell far below those that parents would expect."