Ockenden Report: Review begins into Nottingham NHS maternity failings

The review into dozens of baby deaths has officially begun, and is led by Donna Ockenden Credit: ITV News Central

A review into maternity services at Nottingham NHS hospitals has officially launched today, with Donna Ockenden urging people to come forward.

The independent review comes after dozens of babies died or were injured at the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) Trust.

Leading the report is senior midwife Donna Ockenden. She is urging families and NHS workers to come forward with their experiences.

In a series of tweets, she has asked parents and families of those affected to tell their stories and asked staff to raise their concerns.

Ms Ockenden said the review has to restore confidence in maternity services.

She said: "What this review has to achieve is the confidence of the families that have been so severely affected."

"We've got to have the confidence in staff on the ground that my team are going to the very best work possible."

"And we've got to support maternity services in Nottingham to get better as quickly as they can."

The review is expected to take around eighteen months to complete.

It comes after parents of babies who died or were injured raised their concerns about the performance of maternity services in Nottingham.

Timeline of events leading to the review into Nottingham maternity services

March 2022 - The Care Quality Commission listed a number of concerns and issues with the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, following unannounced inspections at the trust.

Early April - A group of 100 families affected by the alleged failings in maternity care at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, wrote a letter to the former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, voicing concerns about its performance with families.

They criticised the thematic review of maternity incidents.

April 22 - Senior NHS manager Julie Dent was appointed a Chair of the review. Her appointment was met by opposition from families who say they were not consulted and called on her to turn it down.

May 4 - The families meet with Mr Javid in person to discuss the maternity failings.

They said it was the "first significant step in ensuring the protection of babies and mothers from death and harm in the future" at Nottingham Hospitals.

The same day, May 4th, the Chair of the review, Julie Dent steps down for "personal reasons" after two weeks in the position.

Families affected by the failings of care then 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.

May 26 - Senior midwife Donna Ockenden was appointed as the new chair into alleged failures at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Nottingham City Hospital and Queens Medical Centre

May 27 - Latest inspection by CQC says both Nottingham City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre require improvement and maternity services at both sites remain rated inadequate overall.

July 11 - Donna Ockenden meets with families affected by maternity failings in a private meeting. She described the importance of listening to the families to help improve maternity services.

September 1 - Independent review into the care of maternity services at the Nottingham University Hospitals Trust officially begins.

Harriet Hawkins was stillborn at Nottingham City Hospital following a six-day labour in April 2016.

Jack and Sarah Hawkins lost their daughter Harriet at Nottingham City Hospital in 2016. She was stillborn at the trust after a series of failures. They described the start of the review as a watershed moment.

Speaking to ITV News Central, Sarah Hawkins said: "it's really difficult because we're always going to have a dead daughter that should be alive. I think the main feeling is just relief."

Jack said it has been a long battle between parents whose babies died or were harmed and the hospital.

Speaking to ITV News Central he said: "wouldn't the hospital would have rather had us on side battling with them to save maternity services instead of this fight that we've had."

"Let's get to a point where people like us are cherished by the hospital, and out babies who are harmed or dead, or mums who are harmed or dead their stories really count."

Hospital trust bosses have apologised again today for their failings in maternity services and are encouraging staff to speak freely.

The Trust is also being prosecuted over the death of baby Wynter Sophia Andrews after a loss of oxygen flow to the brain, which could have been prevented if she had been delivered sooner.

An inquest found she had died from hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy after she was born by Caesarean section at the QMC in September 2019.