Parents impacted by Nottingham maternity scandal call for changes to get more people to take part

Families who campaigned for an independent review into maternity failings in Nottingham have called for changes to encourage more people to take part.

They met with hospital bosses for the first time as a group in a meeting chaired by senior midwife Donna Ockenden. 

Ms Ockeden is leading the investigation into dozens of babies and mothers who died or were injured at the City Hospital and Queen's Medical Centre.

At present, families have to "opt in" to take part in the review. Those families who fought for it to take place say it needs to change to an opt out instead.

Ms Ockenden has today said unless more families are included the inquiry risks being a failure. 

Jack and Sarah Hawkins, whose baby daughter Harriet was stillborn in 2016 - her death found to be almost certainly preventable - have said 

"We've only got one chance at this, Donna's only going to be here once and it's very easy to sit here and talk about scandals and baby deaths - but if you just imagine that it was your child or your relative every voice is so valid and needs to be validated and heard. 

"We need to take the onus off people coming forward, we need to count everyone in." 

Adding to those calls is Felicity Benyon, whose bladder was removed by mistake in 2015 during a planned c-section. She has also urged families to be part of the review and help bring change in Nottingham.

Felicity said: "I know, it's hard. You're not on your own - it's really important to come forward and explain what went wrong with your birth because things aren't going to change otherwise if we don't stand together."

Ms Ockenden's previous review in Shrewsbury and Telford, which used the "opt-out' approach included more than 95% of affected families. 

In November and January, 1,377 letters were sent to families by the Nottingham Trust. Ms Ockenden has told ITV Central only a quarter have responded. 

She said: "We can not publish a report where women in our community will say, 

"Here we go again, a report's been published about improving maternity services and our voices weren't heard, our concerns weren't heard and the changes and improvements will happen without us.

"I think that's really important we can't allow that to happen."

The final report is estimated to be published next March.