Donna Ockenden, the midwife who investigated the Shopshire maternity scandal, has been appointed to lead a review into failings in Nottingham following a dogged campaign by families.
The current review will be wound up by 10 June after concerns from NHS England and families that it is not fit for purpose.
It was commissioned after revelations fromThe Independent and Channel Four News that dozens of babies had died or been brain-damaged following care at Nottingham University Hospitals Foundation Trust.
The review was launched in July 2021 and nearly 600 people have come forward to the current review team.
In a letter to families on Thursday, NHS England chief operating officer David Sloman said: “I want to begin by apologising for the distress caused by the delay in our announcing a new chair and to take this opportunity to update you on how the work to replace the existing Review has been developing as we have taken on board various views that you have shared with us.”
“After careful consideration and in light of the concerns from some families, our own concerns, and those of stakeholders including in the wider NHS that the current Review is not fit for purpose, we have taken the decision to ask the current Review team to conclude all of their work by Friday 10 June.”
“We will be asking the new national Review team to begin afresh, drawing a line under the work undertaken to date by the current local Review team, and we are using this opportunity to communicate that to you clearly.”
The letter said NHS England will work with Ms Ockenden to develop a new terms of review.
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.
“I am delighted to have been asked by Sir David Sloman to take up the role of Chair of this Review and will be engaging with families shortly as my first priority. I look forward to working with and listening to families and staff, and working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to deliver a Review and recommendations that lead to real change and safer care for women, babies and families in Nottingham as soon as possible.”
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