Maternity inquiry must look to deliver urgent improvement

The inquiry into East Kent maternity care should focus on how the trust can deliver urgent improvements to services. 

The independent investigation was ordered by Government following requests from local MPs including myself and Sir Roger Gale. 

It will be led by maternity expert Dr Bill Kirkup and five experts across the fields of obstetrics, midwifery, neonatal medicine, clinical governance and information management who met for the first time today. The investigation began in April, with the first phase involving contacting families affected.  

I put several of those I have been working with in touch with Dr Kirkup’s team – and the inquiry must focus on immediate improvement following the recent CQC report, which rated the trust’s maternity services as “requires improvement”.  

I’ve spoken with Dr Kirkup and I’m pleased they are speaking directly to the people so deeply and tragically affected by these issues. They deserve to know what happened and it’s the best way for lessons to be learnt.  

But I want the inquiry to focus on how the trust can deliver immediate improvements. It was clear from the CQC report that things are still not good enough. I want to see very clear recommendations about what is going on right now, what needs to change, and exactly how they should do it. 

Because the only way to pay meaningful respect to the babies who did not survive, to the families left behind with indescribable pain and trauma, is to ensure no-one else has to go through what they have. 

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