‘Progress but more to do’ – Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital trust

A hospital trust says it has made “significant progress” since a report found failures in care contributed to the deaths of hundreds of babies.

The review at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, led by Donna Ockenden, was the largest of its kind in the history of the NHS.

Last year it found a string of catastrophic failures as well as a “toxic culture”.

Trust chief executive Louise Barnett admitted it had “failed our community”.

However, she said while there was still “more to do” she believed “services are safe”.

The Ockenden report, published in March, examined cases dating back over 20 years and found more than 200 babies and nine mothers could have been saved.

Speaking almost a year since the findings, Ms Barnett said she was grateful to Ms Ockenden “because we have been able to benefit from the report and make these improvements”.

She said there had been a “massive impact” on the trust and that it had made a number of changes, including round-the-clock consultant cover on the labour ward and risk assessing every single contact with women.

The hospital trust, which is rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission watchdog, was given 210 actions for improvements, which director of nursing Hayley Flavell said were “quite complex” but were being overseen by a specialist committee.

Ms Barnett said the trust had also implemented a culture change programme after a recent staff survey found 32% of respondents would not feel confident to report incidents.

This was highlighted as a particular area of concern in the Ockenden report which uncovered a culture of bullying, anxiety and fear.

“At the heart of that is ensuring that people feel that they can speak out,” Ms Barnett said.

“Because actually listening to our teams and understanding what their concerns are will help us to ensure that we’re delivering great care.”

The chief executive also addressed A&E waiting times, which in recent months have been among the longest in England.

She said addressing those was “particularly challenging” due to the high number of existing patients who were “medically fit for discharge”, but were not able to leave hospital and free up beds.

“We’re working closely with our community teams and our local authorities to try and support those patients to get home or to the right place for them,” she said, adding the trust hoped to replicate the “rigour and discipline” being applied to its maternity services to emergency care as well.

“I’m being honest in saying we have got more to go,” Ms Barnett said.

“But we’re extremely committed to providing the highest possible standards and we’re not giving up on that.”


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