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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Maternity unit probe looks at 200 deaths

MORE than 200 deaths have been looked into as part of an investigation into historic problems in a hospital maternity unit.

The Morecambe Bay Investigation, chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup, went over the notes from the maternal, perinatal and neonatal deaths during the course of its enquiries, before ordering full case reviews for more than 25 per cent of the cases.

The scale of the events at Barrow’s Furness General Hospital scrutinised during the course of the process was revealed in a summary of the panel’s most recent meeting.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “It is clear that the inquiry has looked into a wide range of cases and has investigated many of those very thoroughly.

“It is right that this has taken place and will hopefully help to provide as full a picture as possible of what went wrong at the maternity unit, so that lessons can be learned.

“The key thing is for the inquiry both to give a sense of justice to families through exposure of the truth and highlight the changes that need to happen for similar tragedies to be avoided – both at this trust and across the healthcare system.”

The details of the July 10 meeting, published this month, include updates from the team’s various subgroups tasked with looking into a wide range of issues surrounding the maternity unit at Furness General Hospital between 2004 and 2012.

Other agenda items covered that day included discussions around how the final investigation report will be drawn up.

The panel is due to publish in November, their deadline having been extended from an original target date of July due to the sheer amount of information involved in the process.

It was agreed that the final document should be structured around the various “themes” adopted by the panel’s sub-teams, and that those responsible for writing it should also bear in mind the finding of other recent, relevant reports.

Looking ahead to the publication, Westmorland and Lonsdale MP, Tim Farron said: “I hope that the report will allow us to know the unvarnished truth of what happened and allow the families to take another step in their long drawn out grieving process.

“I will keep doing everything I possibly can to help and support them.”

The panel is next due to meet at its headquarters in Preston on Thursday September 11.

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