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Ockenden Review of Maternity Care: Shrewsbury and Telford

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:31 pm on 15th January 2020.

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Photo of Lucy Allan Lucy Allan Conservative, Telford 6:31 pm, 15th January 2020

My right hon. Friend makes an excellent point. That might be something that the Minister can address, because we want users of maternity services to have absolute confidence in the care that they receive. However, we do not create confidence by hiding facts. If we can get some of the facts out that have been leaked to the media, let us do that and deal with those. He is absolutely right that that will help to reassure parents and give them confidence in the services that are being delivered—the vast majority receive a very good standard of care, and safe care.

The trust, and possibly other trusts, must work towards a culture of openness and transparency and perhaps show more of a willingness to accept that, “This can happen here.” I kept hearing, “Well, this can’t happen here. It hasn’t happened here,” and I cannot feel comfortable if people cannot acknowledge where things have gone wrong.

I recognise that the Minister may not have all the answers today, and I do not expect all the points to be addressed, but we need to know why NHS Improvement sat on the review’s findings for almost a year. Given how serious they are, why has it not come forward to say, “This is what the Ockenden review has found at an interim stage”?

I want to ask who knew what and when. Were Ministers informed, or were they too kept in the dark? If this had not been leaked, when would we have been told? When will the review be completed? It has now been almost three years. When will the Secretary of State make a statement on this very, very serious issue? I also want to know whether the management still think that this has been cooked up by the media, or whether they genuinely now realise that there is a serious problem to be addressed. It is very important that the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS bodies understand and acknowledge the seriousness, and that all parties are encouraged to be open about it.

As a constituency MP who has had women contact me recently to share their birth experiences at the trust, it seems to me that red lights are flashing. We need to know what is being done to ensure the safety of women and their babies using this service. I very much thank the Minister for her forthcoming comments and any reassurances that she can give my constituents on this issue.