County Durham and Darlington – Our initial response to the Ockenden Report

An independent review was set up in 2017 in response to concerns
from bereaved families about maternity services at Shrewsbury and
Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

Its original scope was to cover the cases of 23 families but
since it began, sadly, many more families have reported

Early conclusions were published in an
initial report in December 2020. This report set out seven
immediate and essential actions for Trust maternity services under
7 key themes.  In County Durham and Darlington we were able to
take these forward and we monitor our progress to continually
improve our care supported by the Trust Board and our full
maternity team.

On 30 March 2022, the second and final
report was published.

The reports have been extremely difficult to read. They have
been deeply upsetting for our own colleagues working in maternity
services. We will take time to reflect on the contents of the final
report and consider our response but at this stage wish to share
some initial information.

We understand that anyone who has received or is currently
receiving maternity care across County Durham and Darlington will
have found reading this report particularly difficult. We would
like to say that we are here for you and we will support you if you
have any worries or concerns.

At County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust we strive
to be open and transparent Trust and always try to do the right
thing for our women, babies and their families.

We acknowledge that we don’t always get things right and we are
taking the time to reflect on the report in full to understand what
we can do to provide even better, safer and more excellent
maternity services in the future.

Therefore, we welcome the 15 essential actions for maternity
providers that are included in the report. As part of this initial
response we would like to briefly explain what we are already doing
and what we will focus on to deliver against the actions in full
over the coming weeks and months:

  • We encourage you to be involved in decisions about your care
    during your pregnancy, labour and birth and support you to make
    these decisions
  • We have launched an electronic notes system that can be
    accessed using your phone; we are using your feedback to shape the
    development of this
  • We continue to work closely with the County Durham and
    Darlington Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) and other community
    groups to ensure we act on feedback from families who use our
    maternity services
  • We continue our efforts to recruit into our maternity services
    and expand our staff group
  • We have practice educator facilitators and a preceptorship
    programme to ensure that our students and newly qualified midwives
    are supported in their roles
  • We launched a Fetal Movement campaign to encourage women and
    families to be aware of monitoring movement during pregnancy and to
    share information about how and when to contact our pregnancy
    assessment units with any concerns 
  • We have Bereavement Midwives who provide compassionate,
    individualised, high quality bereavement care to families that
    sadly experience a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death
  • We have robust processes in place to investigate incidents and
    we encourage the involvement of independent experts when
  • We are working with other hospitals across the region and
    nationally to ensure that lessons are learnt and shared

This is an ongoing journey for all of us. We will be working and
closely engaging with our maternity teams, women, families, and
partner organisations to make sure that through collaboration,
learning and most importantly by listening to the women and
families we can deliver the best care for all.

If you are receiving maternity care at County Durham and
Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, or have done so in the past and
you are affected by anything you have read in the published report,
please get in touch with us via your midwife or our Patient
Experience Team by calling 0800 783 5774 or
and we will support you as much as we can.

You can also contact your local Maternity Voices Partnership
(MVP) if you would like to share details of your experience. Cathy
Harvey is the County Durham and Darlington MVP Chair:

Please follow this link to read the Ockenden Report in

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