Probe into Shropshire maternity deaths ‘too late’

Tasha and Jacob with EsmaiImage copyright
Tasha Turner

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Tasha Turner and partner Jacob’s baby Esmai died in 2013 at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Parents of babies who died at a hospital trust at the centre of a maternity inquiry say a police investigation has come “too late”.

West Mercia Police said it was looking at whether there was “evidence to support a criminal case” at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust.

An independent review, contacted by more than 1,000 families, said it was working with police to identify relevant cases.

“It’s bittersweet,” one mother said.

“It’s come too late for my daughter, she should still be here,” said Tasha Turner, whose baby, Esmai, died four days after she was born at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in 2013.

Ms Turner’s case is part of the Ockenden Review, an independent investigation into avoidable baby deaths at the trust, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford’s Princess Royal.

Kamaljit Uppal, 50, from Telford, who is also part of the review following the death of her son Manpreet in April 2003 at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, said she hoped the police inquiry would bring some closure.

“The trust put me through hell, someone should be held accountable,” she said.

Conservative MP for Telford, Lucy Allan, who has raised the issue in Parliament on a number of occasions, said she too hoped the police inquiry would “ensure justice is done”.

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Kamaljit Uppal, from Telford, said she hoped the police inquiry would bring closure

Donna Ockenden, who is leading the review, said she was speaking to the force to identify “cases that may be relevant” to the police investigation but said its inquiry “will not affect the progress of the maternity review” which is due to release its initial findings this year.

In April, Mrs Ockenden said the number of families involved in the review stood at 1,170.

“It’s bittersweet for me, I want justice for my daughter, but I really just wish she was here,” Ms Turner said.

Regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected the trust in June and “identified some new and ongoing concerns around patient safety”, Heidi Smoult, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals said.

“Urgent discussions are taking place… about the way forward for this trust that will ensure the safety of patients using its services,” Ms Smoult added.

She said the report would be published “as soon as the legal process allows”.

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