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Shropshire baby deaths: Review ‘not watered down’

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In a letter to parents, Donna Ockenden assured them the review remained “completely independent”

A senior midwife leading an inquiry into baby deaths has written to reassure parents over concerns that it was being “watered down”.

Donna Ockenden is conducting a review into maternity failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

In a letter seen by the BBC Ms Ockenden allays concerns of it being “stopped” after a controversial panel was pulled.

She said it had now been widened to include 250 families who had concerns over care.

Parents had objected to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) being part of a scrutiny panel, because of questions about its recent history at the health trust.

The panel was later scrapped.

In the letter, Ms Ockenden said she wanted to “provide reassurance”, after being contacted by a number of families with concerns.

She said the review team has been expanded and was now made up of more than 20 experienced midwives and doctors, none of whom had previously worked in the trust and “therefore bring completely independent insight”.

She said “good progress” was being made, with thousands of pages of documentation considered and more than 50 families meeting face-to-face.

In the letter, Ms Ockenden also said the review’s “completion is likely to be the end of the year” and families would be kept up to date.

She added: “We are acutely aware that many families have waited a very long time to receive answers relating to their individual cases, and that many families have suffered terribly over many years.

“It is therefore so important that the maternity review team is given the time needed to undertake this vitally important piece of work.”

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