Police investigation into maternity cases at Nottingham hospitals ‘unlikely to start before 2024’

Police say it is difficult to give an exact start date for the criminal investigation. Credit: ITV News Central

The criminal investigation into maternity failings at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUHT) will not begin until next year.

Nottinghamshire Police announced on 7 September that it would be launching an investigation into the care of mothers and babies at the NUHT.

The trust is also currently the subject of a separate independent review, led by Donna Ockenden, but families affected by care failings have also called for a criminal inquiry.

On Thursday, Assistant Chief Constable Robert Griffin said that it could be several months before the 'investigative work' would begin.

He said the force is “in the preparatory stages" of the investigation and that he does not expect it to begin before spring 2024.

“Unfortunately, it is really difficult to give an exact date, but it is really important that we have put in place the right infrastructure to support the investigation before we begin our investigative work," he added.

“Because of this, we will not be making any contact with families prior to that time, and for probably some time thereafter.

“In respect of that contact, we will be working with Donna Ockenden to ensure that we do this in the most appropriate way.

“No identifiable information will be shared by the review team with Nottinghamshire Police without the consent of the affected family.”

Anthony May OBE, chief executive of the trust, pledged to fully co-operate with the police investigation Credit: Callum Parke/PA

The force said in September that the chief executive of NUHT, Anthony May OBE, who inherited the scandal when he came into office last September, had “committed to fully co-operate” with the police investigation.

Mr May said: “I reiterate the commitment we made to the families involved at our annual public meeting in July of an honest and transparent relationship with them.

“My colleagues and I work closely with the review team led by Donna Ockenden, to ensure transparent and full engagement. This includes meeting regularly with Donna in order to listen and take action on feedback.

“The Trust will now also co-operate fully with any police investigation.”

The investigation is running alongside the review being led by Ms Ockenden, which is expected to be the biggest maternity review in NHS history and will include 1,800 families and around 700 staff.

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