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Farron comments on the Kirkup Report

March 3, 2015 12:36 PM

Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHCumbrian MP Tim Farron has today commented on the Kirkup review into maternity deaths at Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust, which has been labelled by some as "a second Mid Staffs".

Tim has long believed that the pressure to achieve Foundation Trust status, led to poor patient care and patient safety being compromised at the Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust and especially in Barrow.

Tim said: "The Kirkup review shines a light upon one of the worst episodes of systemic failings within the NHS in recent times. The first issues relating to maternity deaths at Barrow were raised back in 2004. It is awful that it has taken until today to get to the truth of what has happened. Eleven years is simply too long to wait. My thoughts today are with the families who will be reading the report with apprehension and trepidation, hoping words will finally be turned into action.

"I will continue to do all I can to try and support the families affected and campaign alongside them for the report's recommendations to be enacted. Like them, I want people to be held to account for their actions."

Tim will aim to speak in the House of Commons this afternoon on this matter, in response to the Secretary of State for Health's statement at around 13.30pm.

The report says the maternity department at FGH was dysfunctional with serious problems in 5 main areas:

  • Clinical competence of a proportion of staff fell significantly below the standard for a safe, effective service. Essential knowledge was lacking, guidelines not followed and warning signs in pregnancy were sometimes not recognised or acted on appropriately.
  • Poor working relationships between midwives, obstetricians and paediatricians. There was a 'them and us' culture and poor communication hampered clinical care.
  • Midwifery care became strongly influenced by a small number of dominant midwives whose 'over-zealous' pursuit of natural childbirth 'at any cost' led at times to unsafe care.
  • Failures of risk assessment and care planning resulted in inappropriate and unsafe care.
  • There was a grossly deficient response from unit clinicians to serious incidents with repeated failure to investigate properly and learn lessons.