A couple who fought to prove an NHS hospital trust’s errors led to their stillborn daughter’s death have shared their “relief” at a new independent review being launched.
The review into Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which has been told to make “significant and immediate improvements” to its maternity services, will be led by Donna Ockenden, the midwife who uncovered at least 200 avoidable baby deaths at an NHS trust in Shropshire.
Jack and Sarah Hawkins were forced to take legal action to get the trust to admit it was responsible after their daughter Harriet was stillborn in 2016.
Mr Hawkins had been a consultant in acute medicine at the trust, while Mrs Hawkins worked as a physiotherapist.
But they have both now left to become whistleblowers after they were blamed by hospital managers for their daughter’s death.
Speaking to Sky News, Mrs Hawkins said: “We feel a massive sense of relief now we know Donna Ockenden is coming in.
“Perhaps now we can stop fighting and start helping.”
Mr Hawkins said their pair still struggle each day, adding their daughter would now be six years old if she was still alive.
He said: “We are the parents of an unavoidably dead child who would be six and it is awful every day.
“But we have good things in life as well.”
Families and babies ‘should receive the very best and safest care’
Ms Ockenden will now look into more than 500 cases where babies died or babies or their mothers may have suffered harm while in the care of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Following her appointment, Ms Ockenden said: “Having a baby is one of the most important times for a family and when women and their babies come into contact with NHS maternity services they should receive the very best and safest care.
“We already know that improvements to maternity care need to be made across the country and families in Nottingham have been through experiences that no family should ever have to go through.”
A spokesperson for Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are passionate about improving our maternity care, and welcome the report from the independent review team.
“We will work through the recommendations in the report to make the changes. We thank the families and staff who have taken part in the review so far, and will continue to work with the new review team.”