A police inquiry has been launched at Shrewsbury & Telford Trust following what has been coined the UK’s ‘worst baby ward scandal’. Detectives are investigating 1,250 cases dating back to the 1970s, as dozens of newborns unnecessarily died or suffered brain damage.

Last year, a leaked report highlighted there to be a ‘toxic’ culture at the maternity unit for 40 years, and as a result of the misconduct, maternity staff at the Trust could face criminal charges.

Concerns were initially raised back in 2009, when a newborn died six hours after being born, despite the birth being high risk and family members raising their concerns. This death was found to be avoidable and two midwives were criticized as a result. Following these concerns, dozens more parents have alleged that their children had unnecessarily lost their lives or were left with lifelong brain injuries as a result of the poor care at the Trust.

An independent review was launched in April 2017, initially to investigate 23 cases of avoidable deaths and brain damage of newborns. The present number of cases has risen to 1,250, highlighting the extent of the misconduct that has continuously occurred at the Trust. The ongoing review has so far identified at least 45 avoidable deaths, including the deaths of three mothers. In addition, there were also 51 cases of brain damage or cerebral palsy in infants , as well as 47 incidents of substandard care between 1979 and 2017.

The most severe cases are said to have involved the deaths of babies and their mothers during childbirth. Others instances include babies suffering lifelong harm. Examples of the misconduct that occurred include parents being pressured into ‘natural’ births, as well as midwives failing to monitor foetal heart rates appropriately.

In addition to the maternity scandal, separate concerns have also been raised about ‘new and ongoing’ concerns surrounding patient safety at the Trust. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued a third warning following a recent inspection of the hospital, which raised concerns about patient welfare in general. The Trust has therefore been rated ‘inadequate’ by the CQC.

In October, a patient at the hospital bled to death after a device used to access his bloodstream became disconnected. Concerns have also been raised in respect of the Trust’s power to detain elderly and vulnerable patients, as such patients being at risk of abuse.

If a yourself or a family member have received inadequate care within an NHS Trust, or any at any care facility, our experienced Clinical Negligence team are able to investigate a potential claim for compensation on a no-win, no-fee basis. Furthermore, our expert Abuse team are also able to investigate claims for abusive treatment by those with a duty of care to patients. For a confidential discussion, call us on 0113 887 1834. Alternatively, you can make an enquiry using our online enquiry form and we will be in touch when it is convenient for you.