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Robert Jenrick: I'm shocked by testimonies of those affected by maternity service failures at Nottingham University Hospitals

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As a parent of three young children, I can only imagine the pain of those who lose babies at birth or shortly thereafter, writes Newark and Bingham MP Robert Jenrick.

And having witnessed three safe and healthy, although not uncomplicated deliveries for my wife, my thoughts are with those who experience more serious complications, whether for mother or child.

I’ve been shocked by the testimonies of those affected by the emerging failures at the maternity service of Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH).

NEWARK MP Robert Jenrick. (4147370)
NEWARK MP Robert Jenrick. (4147370)

There is a lot we don’t yet know, but the number of families that have come forward and their experiences suggest something has gone very badly wrong and many people have been seriously let down. This could well be, and probably is, a very serious scandal.

The victims want answers so they can better understand what has happened to them and their babies. They will also want accountability from those responsible and evidence of change and improvement, so this does not keep happening to more families.

In my experience, the first step in establishing a review that victims can have confidence in is to appoint someone they can have faith in. I approached the Secretary of State for Health, Sajid Javid MP along with my fellow Nottinghamshire MP Lillian Greenwood and asked if Donna Ockenden, an experienced midwife, who chaired the recent and deeply shocking review into maternity services at Shrewsbury Hospital could be appointed.

I hope that Donna will now gather the team she needs and proceed at pace with a thorough review, not just so that “lessons can be learned” — that overused and invariably weak phrase — but so that real change can be effected and trust restored.

There will be pregnant women, partners, prospective grandparents and friends reading this and the wider media coverage, wondering whether they are right to chose NUH or safe if they have no other choice. They need reassurance.

The nature of this review is one whereby recommendations can and will be made on an ongoing basis, not months or years down the line, so we can only hope that the culture and practices of these services change swiftly. I will be asking for regular updates. And as Donna herself has said, there will be many excellent and compassionate midwives and other professionals going into work at NUH today, who care passionately about their vocation and who will want to make that change happen swiftly and provide the very best service.

If you are a parent and have concerns, please do speak up if you feel able to.

If you were affected, or believe that you might have been, please do email me in confidence if you require any assistance at robert.jenrick.mp@parlia ment.uk

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