The number of families coming forward to be part of a review into failing maternity services in Nottingham has more than quadrupled in two weeks.
The review into ‘maternity incidents, complaints and concerns’ at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) is being carried out following dozens of baby deaths and the payment of millions of pounds in compensation to some families.
The local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS England are jointly leading the ‘thematic review’, which was announced in summer 2021.
It comes as healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reinspects maternity services at the hospital, which are currently rated inadequate.
In an update on March 25, the review team said the number of families who have come forward to take part has increased from 84 on 9 March, to 387 on 22 March.
Jack and Sarah Hawkins, whose baby Harriet was stillborn at Nottingham City Hospital in 2016, said they were “disturbed” the families had not been found sooner.
It comes after parents of babies who have died at the trust raised concerns that the review was not doing enough to encourage more families to come forward and instead called for a judge-led public inquiry.
Mr and Mrs Hawkins told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We aren’t surprised by the numbers, but we are disturbed that these families were not found earlier.
“We know that there will be thousands of people, far more people than those who have come forward so far.
“Looking at what has happened elsewhere and the size of maternity service in Nottingham, there will be thousands of families.
“Some families will not be aware of the review or will be too traumatised to come forward. They need a safe and supportive environment to do that.
“Six months in, we would encourage the review team to start finding more people. They promised they would do this much sooner.
“We remain deeply concerned at the way they are conducting the review will not lead to any change.”
The review team said the increase in families coming forward was “directly linked to social media advertising which encouraged families who wish to share their experience of maternity services to contact us through our website”.
They added Facebook advertising has reached more than 60,000 women and resulted in more than 1,500 click-throughs to their website.
The aim of the review is to “drive rapid improvements to maternity services in Nottingham by focussing on issues where change is urgently needed”, following dozens of baby deaths and injuries at the trust.
In the update, the team said they are also targeting under-represented groups by contacting faith leaders and attending antenatal clinics.
They added that they have also had interest from midwives, doctors and neonatal nurses who are interested in joining the Independent Investigation Team (IIT), which is an extension of the review team.
Data from complaints, incidents, investigations, compliments,
board papers, committee reports and internal/external reviews are also being analysed.
Feedback sessions for families are available over the phone or via video call, or alternatively they can write about their experiences.
NUH maternity staff are also being encouraged to come forward to be a part of the review.
The review will cover information dating back to 2006, and is expected to be complete on November 30 2022.