Natalie calls for immediate action on maternity services

I called for immediate action to improve maternity services and for coroners to be given powers to investigate stillbirths – following the tragic death of baby Tallulah-Rai Edwards.

Tallulah-Rai died a year ago in January 2019, less than 48 hours after her mother was discharged by a midwife having raised concerns about Tallulah-Rai’s reduced movement in the womb.

Her mother Shelley Russell from Aycliffe, Dover, attended Buckland Hospital 36 weeks into the pregnancy. Shelley was in a higher risk category having miscarried before.

Shelley says that during the monitoring process the midwife left her at times in the sole care of a student nurse, who had difficulties getting a reliable reading. Even though no reliable reading could be obtained, the midwife decided to stop monitoring, sign it off noting the defective and poor-quality of the reading, and discharge mother and baby.

Tallulah-Rai Edwards died 48 hours later from hypoxia – suffocating to death in the womb due to lack of oxygen.

I met with Tallulah-Rai’s parents last week and raised the case in Parliament during a debate on the NHS Funding Bill.

Tallulah-Rai’s parent Nicholas and Shelley know that nothing can bring back their daughter. But they want changes to law and to the administration of healthcare to be undertaken to ensure no other parent suffers an unnecessary loss.

This cannot wait for a lengthy public inquiry – it needs action now. The Trust needs to stop hiding behind paperwork and process. It should take responsibility right now.

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