NHS paid almost £1million to scandal-hit Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals for ‘good maternity care’ just weeks before its childbirth unit was rated inadequate by inspectors
- Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust was given the money by NHS Resolution
- It claimed to meet 10 criteria to get the money, which the NHS didn’t check
- It was paid in September 2018, weeks before being put into special measures
- The trust is still under investigation for failings of care to 600 families
The NHS paid £1million to the hospital at the centre of a baby deaths scandal for providing ‘good maternity care’.
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust claimed to be meeting 10 safety standards set out by NHS Resolution to be awarded the sum in September 2018.
Weeks after the £953,391 payment was made, however, the trust’s childbirth services were rated ‘inadequate’ by inspectors at the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Maternity units at the trust have been under scrutiny since 2017 and dozens of families have sued the trust for compensation, with cases still ongoing.
More than 90 babies died or suffered severe harm and disability due to medical failings between 1979 and 2017.
The NHS paid £1million to Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust – the hospital at the centre of the worst maternity scandal in history – for providing ‘good care’
Rhiannon Davies, whose daughter Kate Stanton-Davies died due to medical mistakes at Ludlow Community Hospital in 2009, demanded to know what the money had been spent on
The BBC reported the money was provided under the Maternity Incentive Scheme run by NHS Resolution, which aims to improve maternity care.
The money was a reward to ‘those who have taken action to improve maternity safety’.
It involved a refund of money the trust had paid into the scheme, plus a share of money left from other hospitals which didn’t meet the standards.
Each trust was tasked with reporting whether they met 10 criteria, including properly investigating deaths, reducing mistakes and having effective teams of midwives and doctors.
NHS Resolution allegedly did not check the trusts were in fact meeting the criteria. It has since said it is ‘unable to comment on specific trust cases’.
The 10 maternity safety criteria are summarised below. Trusts were asked:
NHS Resolution, which ran the scheme, allegedly never checked whether hospitals were doing everything they claimed to be.
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust was one of 75 out of 132 trusts which received money for providing safe care, the BBC reported.
At the same time, the CQC was assessing the trust, reporting its findings in November 2018 – just two months after the hospitals were paid the money.
The trust was rated as inadequate – the lowest possible score – and put into special measures. It still has the same rating today.
The damning report said there was a toxic culture of bullying, there were not enough staff to keep patients safe, and failings within surgery, end of life care and critical care units.
It is not clear what the trust has spent the money on, which angered some families involved in the inquiry.
More than 600 allegations of shocking care at the hospitals had been identified, and there is evidence 90 babies died or suffered serious harm over four decades.
Rhiannon Davies, whose daughter Kate Stanton-Davies died due to catastrophic medical mistakes at Ludlow Community Hospital in 2009, was among the first to push for an independent inquiry.
She said the trust should ‘pay the money back’, the BBC reports.
‘They self-certified that they met the 10 standards, the board signed it off and they received no scrutiny, it is more lies,’ she said.
‘It is another perfect, pure example of SaTh creating their own narrative. I want to know what they spent the money on.’
It comes as The Independent revealed how the trust has paid out almost £50million in compensation for maternity errors since 2006/7.
Most of the money will cover the costs of caring for disable children – families have filed 82 successful claims for damages of which the largest single category was cerebral palsy.
Nine babies were left with the condition as a result of medical errors that deprived them of oxygen at birth.
At least 42 babies and three mothers may have died unnecessarily, a leaked report revealed in mid-November.
The report has been written by Donna Ockenden, a senior independent midwife who was tasked with looking into just 23 cases of poor maternity care at the trust in 2017.
The 33-page interim report described a ‘toxic’ culture where mistakes were covered up and lessons not learnt.
Families complained they were treated without kindness or respect, as some were told they would have to leave the hospital if they didn’t grieve their babies quietly.
Staff got the name of dead babies wrong in writing and in one case referred to a baby as ‘it’.
The final report into Shrewsbury and Telford is not expected until 2020 at the earliest.
MailOnline has contacted the trust for comment.
In a statement to the BBC the trust said: ‘Evidence of the trust’s progress against the 10 safety actions was shared with committees including the Women and Children’s Care Group Board and the Quality and Safety Assurance Committee, before being submitted to the trust board.
‘The content of the report was also shared with the trust’s commissioners.’
‘MY DAUGHTER WAS STILLBORN AFTER I SPENT 48 HOURS IN A SIDE ROOM’
Katie Wilkins’ baby girl died at Shrewsbury Hospital after midwives left her in a side room for 48 hours and failed to properly monitor her.
Miss Wilkins was 15 days overdue when she arrived at the hospital to be induced in February 2013. There were no beds available on the busy labour ward and Miss Wilkins, 24, claims she was ‘forgotten’ in the room for two days and visited by staff just a handful of times.
Katie Wilkins’ baby girl died at Shrewsbury Hospital after midwives left her in a side room for 48 hours and failed to properly monitor her. Miss Wilkins pictured with partner Dave Jackson, 45
When a midwife did come to check on her progress they realised her baby’s heartbeat could not be found. Maddie was delivered stillborn in the early hours of the following day.
Hospital bosses later admitted the baby would have been born alive had they treated her in a more ‘timely’ manner.
Miss Wilkins said: ‘Maddie’s death was recorded as unexplained but we know why she died – because the midwives didn’t do their jobs properly.
‘I’d had a perfectly normal pregnancy and didn’t expect any problems with the birth. But I was left for hours at a time. The hospital was very busy and I felt like they simply forgot about me.
‘Giving birth to my stillborn daughter was heartbreaking. I should have been taking her home with me, but instead she had to stay at the hospital in a Moses basket. It was awful.’
Maddie was delivered stillborn in the early hours of February 21. The results of a post-mortem examination said the 6lbs 14oz baby girl’s death was unexplained.
In a letter to Miss Wilkins, Cathy Smith, head of midwifery at the hospital, apologised and admitted: ‘Had your induction occurred more timely, Maddison would likely to have been born alive.’ She added that practices at the hospital had now changed.
Miss Wilkins – who has since had a son and daughter with her partner Dave Jackson, 45, – is sceptical. She said: ‘We were told that changes would be made and women would be properly monitored, but now it seems that never happened.
‘The hospital think they can say sorry and we should move on, but we can’t.’
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