Health: Maternity Care Provisions in East Kent - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:49 am on 13th February 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Brinton Baroness Brinton Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Health) 11:49 am, 13th February 2020

I also thank the Minister for the detailed Statement, which is much appreciated, and echo the sentiments of sympathy and support to the parents of Harry Richford and the other children who have died or had their health severely impaired by the trust. It does not start just two years ago. In 2010 there was a review by NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent on maternity care; safety and quality are mentioned three times in the statement of that review. In 2012 the services were reconfigured despite many concerns of local people. In 2014 the trust was rated inadequate and put in special measures by the CQC—it left special measures in 2017. In 2015 there was an expert report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists warning about many of the problems that emerged in the subsequent tragic deaths of Harry Richford and at least six other babies. And so on and so on.

The expert review said that action needed to be taken quickly. This report was not passed to the CQC. Why, given that the hospital was in special measures, was the report not handed to the CQC and why on earth was the hospital allowed to continue out of special measures after that when there were clearly still major problems? Following on from the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, why did the chief exec and, I presume, the board not read, implement and monitor this expert review?