Nottingham University Hospital Trust boss apologises to parents of babies who died under their care

The CEO of Nottingham University Hospitals Trust speaks exclusively to ITV News Central

The parents of babies who died under the care of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust receive an apology from the newly appointed health boss.

Anthony May, CEO of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, who has been in the role for less than two months, says improving maternity services is his first priority.

Speaking to ITV News Central, for the first time since a review into maternity services in Nottingham began, Mr May said he wanted to say "sorry to the families who have suffered as a result of the mistakes that have been made."

My May said he is welcoming the review, by senior Midwife Donna Ockenden, looking into the cases of dozens of babies who died or were injured at the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) Trust.

Speaking to ITV News Central, Mr May said: "The first thing I would say about our maternity services is sorry to the families who have suffered as a result of the mistakes that have been made."

"The improvement of maternity services is my top priority."

"We have an extensive plan, which I think is making a difference and we are fully supporting and engaging with the review into maternity services, led by Donna Ockenden."

The apology comes after more than 400 families came forward about the "inadequate" care they received from the Trust over the past 10 years, as part of a report into maternity services.

An inspection into the Trust by the Care Quality Commission said maternity services at the Trust, which runs Nottingham City Hospital and Queens Medical Centre, remained rated "inadequate" in March this year.

The health watchdog said "significant and immediate improvements" must be made to maternity services as it said women and babies may not be safe.

Mr May said the Trust is ensuring changes are made to ensure the safety of its patients.

He said the Trust plans on, "spending a lot of time on recruitment and retention."

"It's a problem for us getting enough people. We are trying to support the people working there now to make their working lives the best they can be. We are looking at policies, procedures and training so that the families that come through maternity get the best possible experience," he added.

"This organisation will be accountable for its actions, and we will accept the reality of the inspection findings."

Mr May also said he is willing to talk and meet with anyone concerned about the care received at the Trust, including the hundreds of families whose babies died under its care.

He said: "I think we are making improvements, but if people are worried or concerned, they are welcome to contact me any time."

"Anyone who wants to talk to me can contact me, my details are publicly available and my door is always open for them."

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 into maternity services as a watershed moment.

The couple, who both previously worked for the NHS Trust, were told their daughter had died of an infection, but they refused to accept it.

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

So, they launched their own investigation and, after hospital bosses initially found "no obvious fault", an external inquiry in 2018 identified 13 "significant" failings in care.

The inquiry found Harriet's death was "almost certainly preventable". They received a payout of £2.8million from the Trust.

Kim and Jason Errington lost their son Teddy at Nottingham City Hospital in 2020.

He died just a day after he was born after midwives had failed to monitor his blood sugar levels before he went home.

Teddy Errington was just a day old when he died after leaving Nottingham City Hospital.

His death is among more than 550 maternity cases by Donna Ockenden over care at the Nottingham Trust.

The 18-month-long review into maternity services was officially launched on September 1st this year, the same date the newly appointed health boss of the trust Anthony May came into post.

Senior midwife Donna Ockenden has met with families to discuss their experiences and concerns and urges those who haven't spoken, including staff, to come forward and raise their concerns about maternity services.

Only one of the dozens of baby deaths investigated at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is being prosecuted.

Baby Wynter Sophia Andrews died 23minutes after being born due to 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.

The review is estimated to be published in March 2024.