Wednesday 21 February 2024
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Nottingham

Donna Ockenden appointed to review NUH maternity services

Bereaved families have described their “immense sense of relief” as Donna Ockenden has been appointed to lead a new review into inadequate maternity services at Nottingham hospitals.

Maternity services at both the Queen’s Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital have been graded ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission.

A ‘thematic’ review, jointly commissioned by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS England / Improvement – was brought in as a remedy to ongoing problems and to examine previous incidents.

The review follows dozens of baby deaths and injuries and millions paid out in compensation.

Set up in October, it set out to look at ‘maternity incidents, complaints and concerns’ at Nottingham University Hospitals.

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But families said they had been “further traumatised” by the review’s approach – and have campaigned for weeks for Donna Ockenden to take over.

Ms Ockenden led the damning review into Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust’s maternity services.

Families had also met with Health Secretary Sajid Javid to express their concerns.

In a letter sent to the families on Thursday (May 26), David Sloman, Chief Operating Officer, NHS England and NHS Improvement, confirmed the appointment.

He apologised for “the distress caused by the delay in our announcing a
new chair”.

The current review team have been asked to conclude their work by Friday 10 June.

Mr Sloman said: “We have reflected on the strength of feeling from families and stakeholders to this Independent Review about the appointment of a new Chair, and I would like to restate that we feel it imperative for this new Review to have the confidence of all families involved and families who may also come forward in the future.

“We have listened to your concerns. I can confirm that Donna Ockenden has agreed to chair the new Review and we will work with her to develop a new Terms of Reference that reflects the need to both drive urgent improvements to local maternity care and the need to deliver actionable recommendations that can be implemented as quickly as possible.”

The families thanked the Sajid Javid for “finally listening to us after many years of campaigning”.

They said: “Donna Ockenden’s appointment is a significant step towards restoring confidence in Nottingham maternity services. We are confident that she will conduct a robust review to ensure the scale of failings at NUH are recognised and essential improvements are made.

“This signals the start of the next stage in the journey where families can now stop fighting and instead dedicate their strength, knowledge, and experiences to uncover the truth and improve maternity service for the people of Nottingham.”

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