Police announce criminal inquiry over Nottingham maternity deaths

Inadequacies at a hospital trust have led to the deaths and injuries of scores of infants, prompting a police investigation.

Senior midwife Donna Ockenden is currently conducting a review of the maternity facilities at the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust.

The evaluation will be the largest ever conducted in the United Kingdom, affecting approximately 1,800 families. The chief executive officer of the trust stated his commitment to cooperation.

Nottinghamshire Police stated that its decision to investigate Ms. Ockenden followed conversations with her.

Her team is investigating the causes of infant deaths and injuries at Nottingham City Hospital and the Queen's Medical Centre.

Chief Constable Kate Meynell stated that on Wednesday, she met with Donna Ockenden to discuss her independent review of obstetric cases of potentially serious concern at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) and to gain a better understanding of the ongoing work.

The announcement follows the June 2020 commencement of an investigation by West Mercia Police into the maternity practices of the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.

An independent investigation there, also conducted by Ms. Ockenden, determined that 201 infants and nine mothers could have survived if they had received superior maternity care over a 20-year period.

Ms. Meynell stated, "We are currently examining the work being done by West Mercia Police in Shrewsbury and Telford to determine how they conducted their investigation alongside Donna Ockenden's review and any lessons learned." "Now that we have met with Donna Ockenden, we plan to hold preliminary discussions with some local families in the near future."

A long-running campaign by bereaved parents prompted Ms. Ockenden's evaluation. Her team is investigating the cases of 1,800 families, and approximately 700 current and former trust employees are contacting them.

Ms. Ockenden expressed her approval for the decision to investigate. She mentioned that as review chair, she and her team are absolutely committed to working with the police.

In a statement released on behalf of the campaigning parents, it was stated, "We embrace the long-awaited news of this police investigation, and we are grateful to Chief Constable Kate Meynell for her decision.”

Her team will have access to a plethora of information from victim families. 

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust's obstetric care and investigation of that care have been inadequate for many years. Jack and Sarah Hawkins, whose infant daughter Harriet passed away in 2016, stated that they asked the trust to inform the police of her passing at the time.

They told the local sources that this conversation has occurred numerous times over the years with senior personnel at NUH and the local NHS.

Irwin Mitchell represents some families who are dissatisfied with the treatment they received.

Medical malpractice attorney Julianne Moore stated that it is comprehensible that the families they represent are concerned about what occurred to them and others.

They commend the intention of the police to investigate and continue to assist the families they represent during this challenging time so that they can receive the specialized assistance and in some cases, eternal care they require.