Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed the full scope of a top level investigation into care services by the maternity and neonatal services at Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust.
The independent Morecambe Bay Maternity and Neonatal Services Investigation will be led by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE, a former associate medical director at the Department of Health who served on the Hillsborough Independent Panel.
Jeremy Hunt said: “University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust has been the subject of scrutiny for a number of years following the high number of serious untoward incidents in its maternity and neonatal services.
“The families of those who were harmed or died under the care of the trust have persistently and courageously sought a full and independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding these deaths.
“I am announcing to the House the terms of reference for the independent investigation into the management, delivery and outcomes of care provided by the maternity and neonatal services of UHMBT from January 2004 to June 2013 under the chairmanship of Dr Bill Kirkup CBE.
“The investigation will primarily focus on the service provided by the trust and the response of the trust to shortcomings previously identified.
“It will look at evidence relating to organisations external to the trust where this will help shed light on the tragic events that occurred and assist in producing recommendations for preventing such incidences in the future.
“The principle concern of this investigation is getting the answers the families have requested.
“Answers are required about what went so desperately wrong with the care they received, and the steps the trust must take to ensure no other families suffer in the future.”
John Cowdall, chairman of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, said: “University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust welcomes publication of the terms of reference for the independent investigation by the Government. We are fully committed to supporting the work of Dr Kirkup for the benefit of those families that have been tragically affected by previous failures. The new trust board will ensure that any new lessons resulting from the investigation are learnt and applied.”
The probe is expected to be reported by next summer.