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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Cumbria police quiz staff at Barrow hospital

DETECTIVES investigating deaths which came in the wake of care received by mothers and babies at Furness General Hospital maternity unit in Barrow are due to interview current and former hospital staff.

Cumbria police revealed to the Evening Mail that officers had made contact with a number of people, with a view to speaking with them in early 2013.
A constabulary spokeswoman said: “Detectives investigating a number of deaths that occurred after mothers and infants
received care at the maternity unit in Furness General Hospital have contacted a number of individuals to request that they help them with their enquiries in the new year.
“This is a very complex case and we continue to take time to conduct a full and thorough investigation. We are examining information in painstaking detail to do justice to the complaints we have received.
“This is the natural, next step in our investigation.”
The spokeswoman said no arrests have yet been made in connection to the investigation.
Sir David Henshaw is chairman of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs FGH.
He said: “The trust is co-operating fully with Cumbria Constabulary as part of its ongoing
investigation into the deaths of babies and mothers, following care received at Furness General Hospital.
“This now includes a number of current and ex-staff being interviewed.
“Whilst it would be inappropriate for the trust to comment further on specific cases at this time, we are pleased that the police are continuing to make progress with this important investigation.
“The trust will ensure that existing and previous staff being interviewed are supported throughout this process, and clinicians are working hard to minimise any disruption to services.”
News of police detectives’ involvement at FGH first broke on June 9 last year, when Cumbria Constabulary confirmed it had launched an investigation into the death of Joshua Titcombe
before an inquest into his death began that month.
Joshua, the son of Dalton couple James and Hoa Titcombe, died in a Newcastle hospital nine days after his birth at FGH in October 2008. Midwives had failed to spot that he had an easily treatable infection.
In September last year, police confirmed they had extended their investigation into Joshua’s case to involve “a number” of deaths at FGH, and increased the number of detectives working on it to 15.
Cumbria Constabulary’s spokeswoman yesterday(14) said they were still unable to confirm which or how many cases are being examined and explained that, due to the complexity of the investigation, no timescale could be put on its completion.
She added: “We are committed to carrying out a full and thorough enquiry and this will take time.”

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