Maternity Scandal: NMC Put Lives At Risk

Modesto Morganelli
Mag 17, 2018

The review said it could find no evidence of the NMC acting on information it was given by Cumbria Police about 22 cases it had investigated at the hospital, which is part of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

Chief Executive of the Professional Standards Authority, Harry Cayton, said; "What happened at Furness General Hospital remains shocking, and the tragic deaths of babies and mothers should never have happened".

The 80-page makes a series of recommendations and heavily criticises the actions of the NMC after the regulator failed to take any action for two years after information was supplied by the police on maternity staff. Cumbria police told the review: "We were really concerned that reports of the same midwives [of whom] we had the cases sitting in front of us were still practising at the hospital".

The NMC apologised in the wake of Wednesday's report, calling its handling of the scandal "unacceptable".

Concerns at the hospital were first raised after the death of nine-day-old Joshua Titcombe in 2008 from sepsis.

"Further avoidable deaths occurred while the NMC were considering the complaints", the PSA review - which was commissioned by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt - reported.

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) inquest also criticised the NMC for taking eight years to complete fitness-to-practice hearings against a number of midwives after the alarm had been raised, during which time they continued to practice.

No prosecutions were brought by police, but three midwives were subsequently struck off and a fourth was suspended following the deaths at the hospital.

The NMC welcomed the publication of the review, with outgoing chief executive Jackie Smith claiming that the NMC's approach was "unacceptable".

Mothers and babies died after a health regulator failed to act on concerns that midwives were providing poor care at a Cumbria hospital, a damning report has concluded.

They said: "We were particularly horrified that even when Cumbria police directly raised significant issues, the NMC effectively ignored the information for nearly two years".

The PSA's report also reveals that the NMC mishandled its dealings with bereaved families, had very poor record-keeping and did not pass on to the PSA material that the latter's inquiry team then found elsewhere.

Explaining that the NMC had made "significant changes" since 2014, Smith admitted that there is "much more to do".

"The changes we've made puts vulnerable witnesses and families affected by failings in care at the heart of our work".

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