Donna Ockenden says families affected by Nottingham maternity failures must be listened to

ITV News Central reporter Jane Hesketh sits down with the chair of the review, Donna Ockenden.

The chair of an independent review into maternity services at Nottingham's hospitals has said it is important families voices are listened to.

Donna Ockenden has started her review into Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, which runs Nottingham City Hospital and Queens Medical Centre. She met with the families affected on Monday (11 July).

Speaking to ITV News Central, Ms Ockenden said: "It was lovely to put names to faces this was my first meeting with the families who had reached out to me. 

"It was a private meeting, we had a good positive conversation, and as they left they said 'thank you for listening and ensuring we are heard', that was our parting comment."

Ms Ockenden added: "We must make sure family voices are listened to and heard, they are central to all we do.

"We must support the trust to improve the safety and quality of their maternity services, so the local population of Nottingham feel confident their services are safe again and they can be proud of them"

The review comes after some 100 mothers wrote to the former Health Secretary to criticise the thematic review of maternity incidents.

They called for Donna Ockenden, who led the investigation into the baby death scandal at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, to be put in charge.

The former chairwoman of the review stepped down two weeks after her appointment.

Ms Ockenden was the Chair of the England Royal College of Midwives (RCM) between 2006 and 2014. She described what has changed in maternity services since she started as a midwife 30 years ago.

Ms Ockenden said: "Overall I would say maternity services have been understaffed for at least a decade. 

"Women have become more complex, maternity doesn't sit alone as an island it is responsive to the society we are in and we know that there are many more disadvantaged families using our maternity services.

"On paper, birth numbers are coming down, the acuity of women has increased significantly, against the backdrop of reduced midwives on the ground."