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Thursday, 16 March 2017

No families excluded from baby deaths maternity unit review, watchdog says

Written by The Press Association

No families have been excluded from the review into adverse events at a maternity unit where some babies died, a health watchdog has said.

The Scottish Government ordered Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) to carry out the review last year after two families whose babies died during childbirth at Ayrshire Maternity Unit spoke out about their experiences.

Shona Robison (pictured) said she has received assurances from HIS that no families will be excluded from the review Shona Robison said she has received assurances from HIS that no families will be excluded from the review Between 2008 and March 31 last year, there were four significant adverse event r eviews concerning stillbirth deaths at the unit at Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire.

The BBC found there have been six so-called ''unnecessary'' deaths of babies at the hospital since 2008.

The review is formally examining the management of adverse events since December 2013 onwards but has extended an open invitation to anyone with experiences of the unit, including before that date.

Claire Sweeney, interim director of quality assurance at HIS, said: "We are currently undertaking a review into adverse events taking place at Ayrshire Maternity Unit within University Hospital Crosshouse.

"The review is formally looking at the management of adverse events from December 2013 onwards.

"However, the review team had extended an open invitation to any members of the public who wanted to share their experiences of Ayrshire Maternity Unit.

"The team has met with a number of families, including some who had experiences at Crosshouse prior to December 2013.

"No families have been excluded from the review. We have spoken to all families who wanted to speak to us to share their experiences.
"Their important views have helped us understand the issues that need to be considered as we review the service and they will be included in the final report.

"This will make sure that the report and recommendations help to improve the care that people receive.

"We sympathise with the experiences of the families concerned and we have been very grateful to these families that they felt able to share these obviously painful experiences with us. We will publish our findings as soon as possible."

Among the deaths were Denise and Steven Campbell's son Joseph, who died during childbirth at the unit in 2012.

June and Fraser Morton's son Lucas died there in November 2015. In an interview last year, Mr Morton told the BBC: ''Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. "I believe they were understaffed and overworked. They didn't have the training knowledge and experience, and I believe that comes back to management issues.

''If mistakes had not been made, the difference is quite simple. Lucas would have been here."

NHS Ayrshire and Arran has apologised for any ''failings they experienced during their time with us''.

Health Secretary Shona Robison told Holyrood's chamber that the 2013 date had been put in place "because of the terms of reference for the review, which was to focus on whether Ayrshire and Arran had adhered to the national framework in dealing with significant adverse event reports, given the previous review which looked into cases prior to December 2013".

She added: "That was the rationale for December 2013 and looking at cases beyond that date, because cases before that date had already been looked into through the previous review."

Ms Robison had been asked by Scottish Labour MSP Colin Smyth if she would "intervene in this matter to ensure that the cases of all six families including those babies who died between 2008 and the end 2013 will be given the same full and efficient review that they were promised and deserve".

The Health Secretary stressed the review was independent. She added: "However, I have sought and received assurance from HIS that no families will be excluded from the review, and that any members of the public who wished to share their experiences have been able to do so and that their views and experiences will be reflected in the final report."

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