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NUH Maternity: Affected families to be included in Ockenden review unless they opt-out

Donna Ockenden, chair of the inquiry, is expected to announce that 1,700 families’ cases will be examined at a Trust public meeting today Monday 10 July.

A group of bereaved families are calling for changes to the Nottingham hospitals maternity review so it can automatically access families’ medical records.

Midwife and healthcare expert Donna Ockenden is running a large-scale review into care at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH), where maternity units are rated ‘inadequate’.


The BBC reports that the families had asked for the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the trust to agree to change the review from “opt-in” to “opt-out”.

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NHS England has now written to affected families, confirming cases will be dealt with on an opt-out basis, with families having to opt out of giving consent.

This is likely to make the review, which could involve 1,700 cases, the largest in the UK.

The Trust contacted 1,377 families at the end of November 2022 and the end of January 2023

The letters were sent to families who had experienced stillbirth, neonatal deaths, brain damage to the baby, harm to mothers or relatives of mothers who died.

Only 360 families responded to the letters that were sent out.

28% of white women contacted responded, while for black and Asian women, the figures were 10% and 5% respectively.
In Nottingham, only about 25% of families known to be affected have been included in the review.

Speaking in May, Ms Ockenden said:

‘Ms Ockenden said: “As it stands, with our 674 families who have joined the review, I can’t say as the chair we have anywhere near a representative sample of the rich diversity that we know exists in Nottingham.

“There is significantly more work to do.”

She said if the review cannot get a representative base, “women and their families are almost certain to say ‘here we go again, another review and our voices haven’t been heard’ “.

She added: “A big part of this review was about the trust learning and improving.

“You cannot say in the tiny number of women that have come forward that we have enough to learn.

“We need a radical rethink about how we ensure that women from all communities across Nottingham feel confident to come forward.

“As the chair, I will only work to the highest standards.”

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