Probe expected to show serious failings at hospital

Carl Hendrickson with wife Nittaya
Carl Hendrickson with wife Nittaya
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  • Investigation launched after deaths of mums and babies
  • Leyland man among those demanding answers
  • Internal review revealed criticisms - but not shared with CQC inspectors
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An independent report which is expected to expose persistent failures at a maternity unit will be published on Tuesday.

The Morecambe Bay Investigation was launched in September 2013 following a series of deaths of newborn babies and mothers in the maternity and neonatal services unit at Furness General Hospital in Barrow, Cumbria.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said at the time that the principle concern was to find answers for families as to what went “desperately wrong” with care received.

In January, the Sunday Times reported the investigation is expected to conclude up to 30 infants and mothers may have died due to delays in recording medical problems and poor communication at the unit, run by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

Former Leyland man Carl Hendrickson has been among those calling for answers, after his wife Nittaya and newborn son Chester died at Furness General. The investigation has focused on the management, delivery and outcomes of care between January 2004 and June 2013. It has reviewed all deaths that occurred during that period and the response from the trust’s board to such “untoward incidents”.

Interview sessions for the investigation were held in Preston, with more than 100 NHS bosses and midwives quizzed.

An internal review in 2010 led by nursing expert Dame Pauline Fielding had made wide-ranging criticisms and described team-working between key staff as “dysfunctional in some parts”.

That review of maternity services – following five “serious untoward incidents” in 2008 – was not shared with the Care Quality Commission, the health regulator later said, when it gave a clean bill of health that year to the trust following its own inspection.

In a recent blog post, UHMBT’s present chief executive Jackie Daniel wrote: “We must use the investigation’s report to help us fully un