Ockenden review: Letters sent to 300 families on Nottingham maternity failings

A further 300 letters have been sent out to families from Nottingham University Hospitals who come under the terms of reference of the Donna Ockenden report.

Current and former staff are also being encouraged to come forward with information, and can do so anonymously.

Nearly 1,400 letters have been sent to families who suffered severe harm or loss in the last 10 years, making it one of the biggest investigations into safety failings in NHS history.

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

The review began in September and is expected to last 18 months, with the final report estimated to be published in March 2024.

Last week, Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust, was fined £800,000 for failing to care for Sarah Andrews and her baby, Wynter, who died 23 minutes after being born at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) on 15 September 2019.

In total, Ms Ockenden said more than 900 families and 400 staff members connected to the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust have made contact since the review was first announced last September, and encouraged more to come forward.

Ms Ockenden, who qualified as a midwife in 1991, is leading an experienced team of midwives, obstetricians and other specialists from across the country to investigate what improvements can be made at the trust and ensure they are enforced.

She has previously led a similar review into the deaths of babies and mothers at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

The review will examine maternity care across the Trust and Ms Ockenden has urged anyone who feels they may have been affected to come forward, with a dedicated initiative for staff being launched last October.

The NUH trust is currently rated as requiring improvement by the Care Quality Commission after its latest inspection in 2021.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Credit: Emma Coles/PA

Michelle Rhodes, Chief Nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH), said: "I offer my unreserved apologies for the distress that has been caused due to the failings in our maternity services.

"We are committed to making the necessary and sustainable improvements to provide the best possible care for women and families who use our maternity services.

"This is why we will continue to do all we can to support the work of Donna Ockenden’s independent review."This commitment includes ensuring that family voices are heard and we are encouraging people who have significant or serious concerns about their maternity care, to contact the review team. We are also encouraging current and former staff who work directly in or closely with our maternity services, to come forward and engage with the review."We know that this is an unsettling time for women and families using our maternity services. If you have any concerns about your care or have further questions, we encourage you to speak to your midwife or consultant."