I welcome health ministers ordering an expert taskforce to oversee maternity services at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust.
I have also called on the trust’s senior management to show they have what it takes to make the necessary improvements – and for a management shake-up if swift improvements are not made.
Concerns were raised following the recent inquest of Harry Richford, whose death in 2017 was described by a coroner as avoidable.
An investigation was opened into several other deaths since 2011 – including Tallulah-Rai Edwards from Dover, who died in January last year within 48 hours of her mother being discharged after expressing concern about reduced movement in the womb.
Initial findings have now been reported back to Government and this morning (February 13) Minister Nadine Dorries announced to the House of Commons that an expert team of specialists has been appointed to work directly with the trust, including the Regional Medical Director, the Regional Chief Nurse, NHS England’s Medical Director and Chief Midwifery Officer and the Chief Midwife for the South East.
Ministers have acted swiftly to send in a top team of experts following my call for action in Parliament last month. The Chief Executive has now got to show that she has got what it takes and right now I am not seeing that. Things must change quickly or we’ll need to look how we can strengthen leadership at the trust.
Tallulah-Rai’s parents Nicholas and Shelley know that nothing can bring back their daughter. But they want to see more understanding, compassion and responsibility taken for the unacceptable failings that have led to so many baby deaths.
It’s also vital we see changes in law so that inquests can be required in the case of stillborn babies like Tallulah-Rai.