Parents of babies who died receive apology from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust over care

ITV News Correspondent Mark Gough reports on the NHS trust at the heart of the Shropshire maternity scandal and its apology to bereaved parents

The health boss of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust where more than 200 babies died has apologised unreservedly to parents over how they had been treated.

His comments come after a new report criticises the trust - saying it cared more about its reputation than dealing openly with the complaints made by bereaved parents.

At least 201 babies and nine mothers died while under the care of the maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust over 20 years.

Parents Rhiannon Davis and Richard Stanton raised their concerns over care after their daughter Kate died shortly after being born in 2009.

The couple complained numerous times with the trust, but say their complaints hadn't been dealt with openly and honestly.

It was later found her death was avoidable.

Kate died in 2009 soon after she was born

The review was conducted by lawyer Fiona Scolding, following a complaint by Richard Stanton & Rhiannon Davies about the conduct of the former Chairman of the Board, Ben Reid.

Released today it made further criticism of the trust, saying it's short on some occasions to prioritise the reputation of the organisation above transparency and candour.

A previous report into the trust was published in 2017 which was highly critical and some say was softened up.

Today's release said management and governance of the trust was systemically weak. It was a mistake and wrong not to publish it sooner, it added.

Rhiannon and Richard, who are one of the leading campaign families, read today's report.

'Nothing has changed since 2009 when Kate died'

Speaking to ITV News Central about the report Rhiannon said: "What struck me is just seeing in black and white that this is a trust that prioritises its own reputation over learning over clarity, transparency and honesty.

"And that just concerns me so deeply because nothing has changed since 2009 when Kate died effectively."

"How can families who have questions to ask this trust be assured that they will be given honest answers when it's there in black and white, that it's a trust that prioritises its reputation over patient safety?

The trust board met on Thursday 13 October and accepted the full findings of the report.

It has apologised to Richard and Rhiannon and also apologised to all parents whose babies had died over its handling of the softened-up report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The current chair of the trust, Dr Catriona McMahon, said: "It is undoubtedly true that the trust has not dealt with the complainants Mr Stanton and Ms Davies in an open and honest way.

"And for this, I unreservedly apologise to Mr Stanton and Ms Davies on behalf of the Board.

"I unreservedly apologise to the complainants Mr Davis Davidson, Mr Stanton, and to all members of our community for the Trust's mishandling of the publication of the Royal College of Books and gain their report and for any distress that this may have caused them.

The trust has now ordered a review into how it is managed.