Senior midwife Donna Ockenden has been appointed chair of an independent review into maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS England has announced.
This comes after the Department of Health and Social Care revealed earlier this month that Julie Dent, who was originally appointed to the role, had stepped down citing ‘personal reasons’.
Ms Ockenden led the review of maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, the final report of which was published earlier this year and found ‘repeated failures’ spanning two decades.
Maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust were rated ‘inadequate’ in 2020 and the review was set up in November 2021 following maternity incidents, complaints and concerns. More than 400 families have since become involved in the review.
The prior review team has published its interim findings, which will bring an end to their work on the review.
The interim report found ‘unacceptable behaviours and attitudes’ among some staff, including ‘some evidence of bullying’ and ‘a lack of respect for colleagues and service users’. It also found that not all qualified staff working in maternity services were up to date with training around fetal monitoring.
NHS England said it would ensure recommended improvements were made ‘immediately’.
Sir David Sloman, chief operating officer at NHS England and Improvement, said: ‘We are sorry for the distress caused to the families in the delay in announcing a new chair for the review.
‘We know we need to get this right for the families who have experienced such terrible loss and been through so much pain already.
‘We have listened to the concerns raised and we want to ensure the new review addresses them – it must support families to share their views and their experiences so that vital improvements can be made for mums, families and babies in Nottingham.
‘Given Donna Ockenden’s wealth of experience, we are pleased that she has agreed to chair the review – we will start work together now to develop the terms of reference so that her vital work can begin without any further delays.
‘The NHS is absolutely committed to ensuring that the new review delivers much-needed improvements to maternity care for families across Nottingham.’
Ms Ockenden said: ‘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.’
Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid added: ‘I want to thank Donna Ockenden for stepping up to lead this crucial independent review – Donna will bring with her a wealth of experience, particularly following her work on the review of Shrewsbury and Telford maternity services – and I look forward to seeing her recommendations for urgent improvements.’
NHS England announced a £127m funding boost for maternity services earlier this year following a string of high-profile maternity scandals at trusts such as Morecambe Bay, East Kent and Shrewsbury and Telford. However, this was short of the £200 to £350m recommended by the Health and Social Care Committee in June 2021.