MORECAMBE BAY REPORT: Hospitals trust apologises for “serious mistakes”

Furness General Hospital in Barrow-in-Furness.
Furness General Hospital in Barrow-in-Furness.
  • Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has “apologised unreservedly”
  • As a consequence of the problems in maternity and neonatal services whole trust board has changed
  • Improvements include more than 50 additional midwives and doctors
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The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has “apologised unreservedly” to the families of 11 babies and one mother who died in their care.

The trust has responded after an investigation into the deaths at Furness General Hospital in Barrow between 2004 and 2013 uncovered a series of failures “at every level”.

This trust made some very serious mistakes in the way it cared for mothers and their babies

Pearse Butler, chairman of the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust board

The Kirkup review, according to Cumbrian MP Tim Farron, “shines a light upon one of the worst episodes of systemic failings within the NHS in recent times”.

Pearse Butler, chairman of the trust board, said: “This trust made some very serious mistakes in the way it cared for mothers and their babies.

“More than that, the same mistakes were repeated. And after making those mistakes, there was a

lack of openness from the trust in acknowledging to families what had happened.

“This report vindicates these families.

“For these reasons, on behalf of the trust, I apologise unreservedly to the families concerned. “I’m deeply sorry that so many people have suffered as a result of these mistakes.

“As the chair of the trust board, it’s my duty to ensure that lessons are learned and that we do everything we possibly can to make sure nothing like this happens again.”

A spokesman for the trust said it welcomed the publication of the report, accepted and acknowledged the criticisms and accepted its recommendations without reservation.

He said that towards the end of the period covered by this report - as a consequence of the problems in maternity and neonatal services - the whole trust board changed.

The new board recognised the need for improvement in maternity and neonatal services.

He said improvements have included the following:

*More than 50 additional midwives and doctors

*Improved culture and team working at the trust introducing multi-disciplinary ward rounds that take place four times a day on maternity units

*Improved patient safety by ensuring best practice and learning are shared consistently across all of the trust’s hospitals

Jackie Daniel, the trust chief executive, said: “We welcome these comments but we must not be complacent.

“We will address all the recommendations in this report to ensure that we further improve the services we offer to women and families, across our hospitals.”

The trust also runs the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Westmorland General in Kendal.