‘One year on’ report published after hospital baby death probe

Jackie Daniel, chief executive at Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Jackie Daniel, chief executive at Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

A health boss has hailed a ‘one year on’ report into a shake-up at our local hospitals trust but says there is still much work to do.

Jackie Daniel, chief executive at the Morecambe Bay trust, said “a tremendous amount of work” has gone in since the Kirkup Report came out.

The Kirkup Report in March 2015 made 44 recommendations – 18 specific to the trust – after the deaths of babies in Furness General in Barrow-in-Furness.

It said a “lethal mix” of failings at almost every level led to the unnecessary deaths of one mother and 11 babies in the maternity unit between 2004 and 2013.

The trust, which also operates the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, was told to carry out numerous improvements and changes and has brought out a report summing them up.

It was asked to review the skills, knowledge, competencies and professional duties of care of certain groups of staff within its women and children’s and critical care services, meet any identified training needs from the review and identify and develop measures to promote effective multi-disciplinary team-working.

The trust said that “good progress has been made, and to date, (we have) met every timescale stated.”

Jackie Daniel called the publication of the Kirkup Report “a watershed moment, not just for the trust but for those families and communities that have been so tragically let down by past failures”.

“It was important that we didn’t just treat the 
recommendations as a ‘check list’ of actions, because we owed it to everyone involved to demonstrate we would truly learn from it,” she said.

“It would be easy to just focus on the big ticket items, such as the approved plans fora new £11m maternity unit at Furness General Hospital, but a tremendous amount of work has taken place in all areas to meet the recommendations so far. A special thanks needs to go to those families who lost loved ones that have supported us throughout - your bravery and commitment to helping us to improve things further for the benefit of local people have been inspiring.

“Whilst I am pleased that we have met all the recommendations so far, there is still a lot of work still left to do. Our strategy is one of continual improvement, and I look forward to sharing updates on further progress throughout the year.”

The full ‘One Year On’ document can be found on the trust’s website at https://www.uhmb.nhs.uk/about-us/key-publications/.Key changes made since Kirkup include:

Families who lost loved ones gave input into changes in maternity services

More staff now able to describe how to report incidents

Cardiomyopathy conference raised awareness of the heart condition in pregnancy 

New strategic partnerships with other trusts

Electronic staff training records brought in for women and children’s teams