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Cwm Taf baby death inquiry 'just tip of the iceberg', says top solicitor

Diane Rostron told ITV News she believes the scope for the investigation into maternity failures at Cwm Taf University Health Board should be widened

There are many more families affected by failings at maternity units in two south Wales hospitals than are currently being investigated, a leading solicitor has told ITV News.

Speaking exclusively to ITV Wales, medical negligence solicitor Diane Rostron said she is looking into ten cases of babies who have been injured during birth resulting in serious disabilities at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant and Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

My team is currently representing a number of families whose babies have been left with major lifelong disabilities.

We will asking that the investigations are widened to a longer period and also include significant birth injuries which could have been avoided.

– Diane Rostron, Medical negligence solicitor, Addie's
The Health Secretary ordered an inquiry into two hospitals in Llantrisant and Merthyr Tydfil earlier this month Credit: PA Images

Earlier this month, Cwm Taf University Health Board confirmed it was investigating 44 cases of stillbirths and neonatal deaths, and where there was an "adverse outcome" to mothers or their babies.

The inquiry is looking into cases dating from 1st January 2016 and the end of September 2018.

Ms Rostron said she wants to see the timeframe of the investigation widened.

While the cases she is looking at involve both Cwm Taf hospitals, most of them relate to incidents at the Royal Glamorgan with the earliest currently dating back to 2008.

She added seven of her cases have come forward following the announcement of the health board inquiry in October.

"I see recurring themes and the inquiry must look at those themes", she told ITV News.

"I see failure to monitor babies during delivery, failure to quickly deliver these babies, resulting in death or either very serious injury. I see inadequacies of inquiry when something has gone wrong. With these two hospitals with the inquiries that I have seen have either been inadequate or haven't taken place at all."

When you go into hospital and expect to come home with a beautiful perfect little baby and something goes dreadfully wrong and either your child dies or is catastrophically injured, I'm afraid the effects of that go on and on.

These families particularly with children who are so disabled, they struggle to access what those children need in terms of equipment and therapies - it really is catastrophic for the whole family.

– Diane Rostron, Medical negligence solicitor

She is urging families who think they have been affected to contact her.

We have come across a number of discrepancies in the information provided to us when pursuing medical negligence claims against the Cwm Taf University Health Board.

I would urge all families who may have been affected but simply told that their baby’s injury or death was a natural occurrence to speak to us.

– Diane Rostron, Medical negligence solicitor

Responding to the claims, Cwm Taf University Health Board said it has safeguards in place and anyone who is worried can contact the concerns team on CTHB_Concerns@wales.nhs.uk.

The Welsh Government said a terms of reference for the review will be "published shortly".

It added, "The Health Board has already asked for anyone who believes they may have been affected to come forward to their concerns team."

See more on this story on Wales at Six tonight.