Health Secretary announces scope of independent investigation into UHMBT (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Health Secretary announces scope of independent investigation into UHMBT
12:41pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
THE Health Secretary has today announced the scope of a full independent investigation into care services at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT).
The ‘Morecambe Bay Maternity and Neonatal Services Investigation’ will be led by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE, who served on the Hillsborough Independent Panel.
Jeremy Hunt said the investigation into maternity services at UHMBT should provide answers as to what went 'so desperately wrong'.
He praised the families of those who died saying they've 'persistently and courageously sought' the inquiry.
Dr Kirkup will not be asked to look into the shortcomings of the regulatory bodies of the NHS.
Nor will it be a public inquiry due to the sensitivity of the cases involved - family members will be able to attend hearings though.
He said: "University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust (UHMBT) 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."
He will today announce to the House of Commons the terms of reference for the independent investigation into the management, delivery and outcomes of care provided from January 2004 – June 2013.
He added: "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."
It is expected the investigation will be completed by next summer.
John Cowdall, Chair of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, welcomed the publication of the terms or reference.
He said: "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.
"We look forward to a further update from the Investigation about its work in due course."
Dr Kirkup will:
- review the outcomes for mothers and babies that occurred during this time, including maternal and neonatal deaths that occurred in the Trust and in any other institutions to which patients were transferred;
- review the Trust Board’s actions and governance procedures in response to untoward incidents such as the deaths of mothers and babies, including:
a) The Board’s processes for responding to serious untoward incidents
b) The relationship and communication between the Trust and Patients and families GPs and community ante-natal midwifery services, commissioners, Monitor, CQC, and the Healthcare Commission.
c) Relevant investigations published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
- review the Trust Board’s responses to, and any subsequent actions taken following receipt of a number of reports
- make findings as to the adequacy of the actions taken at the time by the Trust to mitigate concerns over safety;
- assess and make findings as to the Trust’s ability to discharge its duties in delivering maternity services; and
- make recommendations on the lessons to be learned for both the Trust and the wider NHS to secure the delivery of high quality care.
MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, David Morris, said: "I welcome the Secretary of State for Health’s announcement that Dr. Bill Kirkup CBE will carry out an independent investigation into the management, outcome and care provided at University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.
"Dr Kirkup is extremely experienced having held a senior post at the Department for Health and he also lead the Hillsborough Independent Panel."
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