Published by BBC NEWS - 17th November 2023
  • Published
Donna Ockenden

A number of maternity services within a hospital trust remain poor for some women, according to the leader of a review into its care.

Senior midwife Donna Ockenden is examining how dozens of babies died or were injured at the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) trust.

As part of an ongoing dialogue with managers, she said she had highlighted criticism of interpretation services.

She also confirmed the review would not report until September 2025.

Ms Ockenden said “no one will thank us for doing a half-baked job”, adding there would also be a period of family feedback which could last until the start of 2026.


Image source, Getty Images

Ms Ockenden told the Local Democracy Reporting Service while the report would take some time, they had regular meetings with senior staff at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH).

She said: “We’ve just had our fifth learning and improvement meeting with [chief executive] Anthony May, members of the executive team and NHS England.

“We talked about discrimination, inequality and racism.

“NUH are working hard to improve on this aspect but women that I’m speaking to in the here and now, who are still pregnant or recently had babies, said that interpretation remains poor.

“It’s better in the community than in the hospital.

“Many women do feel they are treated differently because of their background.”

‘So disappointed’

Ms Ockenden added: “Until we approached them, women in the Roma community had felt their voices were silenced.”

And while improvements were being made, Ms Ockenden said Mr May agreed there was “a marathon ahead, rather than a sprint”.

Maternity services at the trust, which runs Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, are currently rated as requiring improvement by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Ms Ockenden said she was “so disappointed” to hear of a new study which showed the healthcare watchdog’s records had deemed two-thirds (67%) of maternity departments across the country were not safe enough.

Some bereaved families across England are pressing for a judge-led full public inquiry into the state of maternity services across the country.

They have concerns the same failings in care were found in reviews of maternity services in Morecambe Bay, Shrewsbury and Telford and East Kent, and expect the same conclusions from the ongoing review in Nottingham.

There are also calls for another unit-level inquiry into maternity services in Leicester after the services in the city’s hospitals were rated inadequate following an inspection by the CQC earlier this year.

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