Response to the Ockenden review into maternity failings

Today the independent Ockenden Review into the tragic and long-standing maternity failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been published.

It outlines how dysfunctional cultures at the Trust contributed towards the avoidable deaths and harm of a number of mothers and babies, and how families felt they weren’t listened to when they raised concerns. The report also provides recommendations and a comprehensive action plan for the Trust and the wider system.

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the GMC, said:

‘The experiences of the women and families included in Donna Ockenden’s report are harrowing, and speak of cultures in which they were not listened to when they were in the greatest need. The care which women and babies received was not good enough and their stories provide a great deal for the whole health system to reflect upon and learn from.

‘We know from our work with other regulators that dysfunctional cultures often share characteristics such as burnout, bullying and harassment and poor team working. And our research shows that this is particularly pronounced among doctors working in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

‘Yet we know that the best care happens when all healthcare professionals feel supported and work within positive workplace cultures. It is on all of us to drive forward changes which will lead to better cultures, where professionals listen to women and are supported to deliver the best possible care.

‘We are working closely with other regulators and providers to better identify high risk maternity services, tackle unprofessional behaviours and further promote an open and just learning culture across the entire multidisciplinary team. That includes proactively sharing intelligence with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) so that emerging issues are identified.’