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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Trust which runs Barrow hospital blasted as failings highlighted

POLITICIANS have blasted the trust which runs Furness General Hospital in Barrow after the health ombudsman highlighted serious failings in midwifery care and follow-ups following four maternity deaths.

Joshua Titcombe, Alex Davey-Brady and Nittaya and Chester Hendrickson all died following mistakes at Furness General Hospital.

A report from the Health Service Ombudsman found midwives given the role of supervising their peers concluded there had been no errors despite obvious evidence of mistakes.

The arrangements for supervision – required by law – failed to identify poor midwifery practice at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital.

Ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor reviewed the deaths of the three baby boys and Mrs Hendrickson after their families complained about the care given.

The families welcomed the report but said it had taken numerous complaints and requests before an investigation was carried out.

Yesterday the area’s two MPs, John Woodcock, who represents Barrow and Furness, and Tim Farron, whose constituency is Westmorland and Lonsdale, attacked the trust.

Mr Woodcock said the report showed the deaths on the unit could have been prevented.

Mr Woodcock said: “This report homes in on the unacceptable failings in oversight and regulation at Barrow’s maternity unit and demonstrates once again the tragic truth that lives of babies and a mother were lost when they could have been saved.

“With this report and through the independent inquiry which is now under way, I hope that we are on a road that leads to their families learning the truth and towards ensuring that Furness has the safe, full maternity service that we know it needs.

“The ombudsman’s report needs to be taken very seriously, not only in Morecambe Bay, but nationally.

“It surely makes sense to remove the potential conflict of interest from midwives who currently have to investigate incidents relating to their peers while at the same time being responsible for their support and development.”

Mr Farron added: “Poor management under the previous leadership of the trust and poor local inspection and poor national regulation have led to the avoidable deaths of three babies and one mother at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

“These tragedies are made all the more tragic now that we know that they could have been averted.

“The new leadership of the trust must now protect maternity services across Morecambe Bay and support our local midwives.”

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