Families report allegations linked to poor maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust

Nine more families have contacted police to report allegations linked to poor maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust in the past two weeks, ITV News Central can reveal.

The families came forward following the release of a damning report by independent midwife Donna Ockenden, which found catastrophic failings at the Trust.

She concluded poor care led to 201 baby deaths, nine deaths of mothers, and 94 babies suffering brain injuries.

Last week, West Mercia Police revealed it was dealing with 701 cases as part of its investigation - dubbed Operation Lincoln - which is looking into whether there is a criminal case to answer at the Trust.

But ITV News Central has learned more families have come forward.

Ten families in total have contacted police to take part in the investigation since Mrs Ockenden’s final report was released on March 30, one of which had already been identified by investigating officers.

A police spokesperson said all reports would be considered as part of Operation Lincoln on a case by case basis.

The Trust's board met this afternoon to discuss the report's findings.

Donna Ockenden led the report Credit: Jacob King/PA

One of the report’s major findings was the existence of a culture of bullying, with staff saying they felt too frightened to speak up about their concerns.

A number of others said they felt managers had tried to dissuade them from giving evidence to the Ockenden review team, while some of those who did give evidence withdrew it at the last moment as they were so worried about possible ramifications if they were identified.

During the board meeting, Trust chief executive Louise Barnett said it had been "concerning" to hear staff felt that way.

The Trust has now employed an external agency for staff to speak to with any concerns while remaining anonymous. 

"I want to make sure we are able to hear any concerns that people have, because what is important is ensuring we deliver the best possible care to our community and also that we have a great place to work for our staff," she said.

"We know we have further to go in that regard."

The meeting also discussed the need to listen to women and families, and how to ensure the actions taken to date are maintained in future.