Baby death families await Government response to investigations into maternity services at East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust

Families whose babies died at East Kent Hospitals NHS Trusts are awaiting the Government’s response to two investigations into the Trust’s maternity services.

The Department for Health is expected to criticise East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust in a ministerial statement on Thursday morning, highlighting a series of failings in its maternity services following a number of possibly preventable baby deaths.

I understand the Trust will not be put into special measures and the statement will not directly call for the chief executive or medical director to go.

However, one Government source said the CEO’s BBC interview on Thursday "demonstrates she may be out of her depth and leadership is the root of the problem”.

The Trust is likely to receive specialist support to help turn things around and continue to be closely monitored.

Last month a coroner concluded the death of Harry Richford seven days after he was born at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was 'wholly unavoidable'. Credit: Family handout/ITV News

I understand there won’t be a figure placed on the potential number of possibly preventable baby deaths.

There are at least 10 known cases since 2011, but ministers are conscious more families could come forward given the growing attention the Trust is receiving.

A written ministerial statement is expected first thing but I would be very surprised if there is not an urgent question soon after and if there is, I'm told health minister Nadine Dorries will respond.

The statement is likely to be published before 9.30am, possibly (my guess) to conincide with a meeting of the the Hospital Trust’s board at 9.45am in Kent, in which members of the public can attend and ask questions of management.