'This shouldn't be happening in this day and age': The families fighting for justice in Shropshire maternity scandal

For years, there have been two families leading the charge, calling for answers for families affected by the Shropshire maternity scandal.

As ITV Central works to reveal the human cost behind the headlines, one of those families speaks out about their fight for justice.

  • Full video report by Charlotte Cross

For years, Kayleigh and Colin Griffiths, together with Rhiannon Davies and Richard Stanton, have insisted there was something wrong with the way maternity care at the Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital Trust was being run.

And now we know that hundreds more agree with them.

Their conviction and determination helped bring about the current independent review, led by midwife Donna Ockenden - originally set up to look at 23 cases, and now dealing with more than 1,000.

“It’s horrifying. Sickening,” Kayleigh says, when asked how she’s felt as the number of those involved soared.

“Something has to be done. Something has to change.”

She and Colin gave birth to their second daughter, Pippa, in April 2016 as part of a planned home birth.

A family photograph taken shortly before Pippa became dangerously ill. Credit: Family handout

They say they could see warning signs that she was ill fairly quickly - but despite repeated calls to the trust, they were assured everything was fine; and scheduled visits by midwives never materialised.

But little more than a day after arriving to meet her parents and older sister Brooke, Pippa stopped breathing.

They were taken by air ambulance to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, and joined by a specialist team who had hoped to transfer her to Birmingham.

When they arrived, however, they realised Pippa would not survive such a journey.

And Kayleigh and Colin had to make the heartbreaking decision to switch off their newborn daughter’s life support.

“They said ‘you need to make the decision whether she goes here, in your arms, or she’ll probably go in the ambulance on the way there,” Kayleigh says.

“We held her… and we said our goodbyes to her.

Pippa with her older sister Brooke. Credit: Family handout

“It’s life-changing. Completely turned our lives upside down," she adds.

“And it’s not just us. Brooke. Brooke was here, Brooke had to see all that.”

They later discovered Pippa had contracted the Group B Strep infection, which became meningitis.

And they say that they realised soon after her death, they realised there was something wrong with the way they had been treated.

In particular, when Kayleigh rang the bereavement nurse and was told there was no investigation to find out what had led to Pippa’s death; merely an internal review.

So she contacted Rhiannon via social media, and the two families joined forces.

They scoured the internet and newspaper reports, and compiled a list of 23 cases - some families who had lost babies, some whose children had been left with disabilities, and some where the mother had been injured or died - to present to the then-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

He launched the review in 2017.

Richard Stanton and Rhiannon Davies have been campaigning for years, after their newborn daughter Kate died in 2009. Credit: Family handout

The heartache behind the headlines:

The Griffiths family say they want to ensure no other family has to go through what they've been through.

But in addition to the review, many of those who are concerned about the care they received, and the lasting impact it has had on their family, have launched legal action.

Kashmir Uppal is a medical negligence expert from law firm Shoosmiths, and is representing both Kamaljit Uppal, who lost her son Manpreet, and Andrea Bates, a mother who is still suffering from pain and ill health after a traumatic birth.

“It’s a very stressful process,” she explained.

“What we have to prove in each case is that there’s been a breach in the duty of care that’s owed to the patient. And as a result of that a complication has occurred which would not otherwise have occurred.

“It’s a long process, and it’s a very traumatic time for the patient as well.”

The fight for justice is still ongoing.

And for families like the Griffiths, while nothing can bring back the loved one lost to poor care, nor repair the damage caused to those who survived it, justice means making changes to ensure no other family has to go through this kind of heartbreak again.

The trust apologised to the Griffiths family.

In a statement, Nicola Wenlock, director of midwifery at the Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust, apologised to the Griffiths family and said changes had been made.

“I apologise wholeheartedly to the Griffiths family for the loss of their baby, Pippa," she said.

“We take all cases extremely seriously and are working closely with the Ockenden review to ensure we learn and make improvements to the personalised care we provide.

“All incidents are now reviewed in line with the national NHS England/Improvement Serious Incident Framework.

“We recognise that more must be done and we are committed to ensuring our care is aligned to best practice.”