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Protecting human rights in childbirth

Registered Charity Number 1151152

Birthrights responds to the Ockenden review

Today (Wednesday 30 March) the long-awaited final report of Donna Ockenden’s review into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust will be published.

Amy Gibbs, Birthrights’ Chief Executive, said

‘It is devastating to hear the scale of deaths, injuries and trauma that might have been prevented at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. Our thoughts are with all the families represented in this long-awaited final report from Donna Ockenden and others who have experienced harm during maternity care.

‘UK law states that women and birthing people must be the decision-makers in their care. This means listening to their concerns, supporting informed choice and consent, and treating them with dignity and compassion. It is clear from Ockenden’s findings to date that wholesale culture change – with investment in recruitment, retention and support for staff – is urgently needed to deliver safe, rights-respecting maternity services for all.

We will respond in more detail in due course once we have reviewed the full report.’

Notes for editors

The Ockenden review was launched by then-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2017 based on 23 deaths at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.

It has since then grown to look at evidence from 1,862 families, in cases of death or harm between 1998 and 2017. This includes stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths, babies born with disabilities due to alleged poor care, and alleged failures which led to serious ongoing maternal injury.

Last year, the first official report from the Ockenden review was published looking at the first 250 of those cases.

About Birthrights

Birthrights is the UK charity that champions respectful maternity care by protecting human rights. We provide advice and legal information to women and birthing people, train healthcare professionals to deliver rights-respecting care and campaign to change maternity policy and systems.

Read our mission statement and values.

For media enquiries or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact:
Francesca Treadaway, Engagement Director, press@birthrights.org.uk

Need advice about your maternity care?

Knowing your rights and the law in pregnancy and childbirth is important. If you have are pregnant or recently given birth and need advice on any aspect of your care, please contact our advice team.

Our free factsheets provide you with the latest information on your rights, where they come from in law, and how they are backed up in guidance.