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Two in five maternity wards are potentially unsafe, the Care Quality Commission has reported, following concern that trusts are still promoting the idea of a ‘normal’ vaginal birth.

The commission found that 80 of 193 NHS maternity wards were inadequate or requiring improvement in their most recent inspection. 

Only two were rated ‘outstanding’ for safety, 111 for ‘good’. 72 ‘require improvement’ and eight were found ‘inadequate’.

Failing to learn from mistakes was one of the key issues highlighted, as well as short staffing and bad working relationships, The Sun reported.

Before the Ockenden review was published last week, the commission warned that maternity safety improvements were happening ‘too slow’.

It said that ‘safe, high-quality care should be the minimum expectation for women and babies’. 

At least five hospital trusts are still promoting the idea of a 'normal' birth, days after the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust was criticised for not offering a caesarean to mothers who should have been. Above, file picture

At least five hospital trusts are still promoting the idea of a 'normal' birth, days after the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust was criticised for not offering a caesarean to mothers who should have been. Above, file picture

At least five hospital trusts are still promoting the idea of a ‘normal’ birth, days after the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust was criticised for not offering a caesarean to mothers who should have been. Above, file picture

Yesterday, it was revealed that at least five hospital trusts are still promoting the idea of a ‘normal’ birth days after the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust was criticised for the practice.

Formal job adverts for midwifes committed to ‘normal’ vaginal births have been spotted at numerous trusts. They ask for candidates to be a ‘champion of normality’.

The Ockenden review, published on Wednesday, said that mothers who should have been offered a caesarean were made to have natural births.

The trust was found to be pushing a culture of ‘natural births’, and that more than 200 babies died as a result of its wider failings. 

Campaigners have described the job adverts as ‘totally shocking’. 

James Titcombe, whose son Joshua died eight days after he was born as part of the Morecambe Bay scandal, told The Telegraph that the adverts are ‘disgusting’.

‘I’m hoping there will be some rapid leadership action in response,’ he said. 

One advert at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust asked candidates: ‘Are you a champion of normality?

It is hiring for an ‘enthusiastic team member to help us promote normality.’ 

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust had come 'to blame mothers… even for their own deaths', Donna Ockenden found. Above, the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust had come 'to blame mothers… even for their own deaths', Donna Ockenden found. Above, the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust had come ‘to blame mothers… even for their own deaths’, Donna Ockenden found. Above, the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust wants its new employee to ‘demonstrate their commitment and dedications to women-centred care, promoting the normal birth pathway and reducing interventions.’ 

And a job advert at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said that it is ‘proud’ of its commitment to ‘normal births’. It has now been removed. 

Mr Titcombe, a patient safety advocate, fears that some maternity units resist change.

‘I don’t believe its the majority,’ he said. ‘But there is a significant and very powerful evangelical or radical group withing midwifery that are ideologically committed to so-called natural birth.’

A spokesperson for the NHS said they were aware of the job adverts and will remind ‘the relevant trusts of the importance of ensuring language is consistent with our aim that all women have the necessary information and support to make informed decisions.’ 

Donna Ockenden, chair of the Independent Review into Maternity Services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, presented her devastating report on Wednesday

Donna Ockenden, chair of the Independent Review into Maternity Services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, presented her devastating report on Wednesday

Donna Ockenden, chair of the Independent Review into Maternity Services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, presented her devastating report on Wednesday

Pictured above is the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital at the scandal-hit Shrewsbury and Telford hospital NHS Foundation Trust. An investigation pointed to cases where mothers were forced to have a vaginal birth despite needing a C-section

Pictured above is the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital at the scandal-hit Shrewsbury and Telford hospital NHS Foundation Trust. An investigation pointed to cases where mothers were forced to have a vaginal birth despite needing a C-section

Pictured above is the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital at the scandal-hit Shrewsbury and Telford hospital NHS Foundation Trust. An investigation pointed to cases where mothers were forced to have a vaginal birth despite needing a C-section

Pictured above are the ten NHS Trusts with the lowest C-section rates over the year to March 2021, the latest available. There were five trusts that had lower C-section rates than Shrewsbury and Telford which is at the centre of the biggest maternity scandal in Britain. *Official NHS data reports the rate at Royal Cornwall at 15 per cent, but the trust disputes these statistics

Pictured above are the ten NHS Trusts with the lowest C-section rates over the year to March 2021, the latest available. There were five trusts that had lower C-section rates than Shrewsbury and Telford which is at the centre of the biggest maternity scandal in Britain. *Official NHS data reports the rate at Royal Cornwall at 15 per cent, but the trust disputes these statistics

Pictured above are the ten NHS Trusts with the lowest C-section rates over the year to March 2021, the latest available. There were five trusts that had lower C-section rates than Shrewsbury and Telford which is at the centre of the biggest maternity scandal in Britain. *Official NHS data reports the rate at Royal Cornwall at 15 per cent, but the trust disputes these statistics

Donna Ockenden, author of a report into Britain’s worst maternity scandal, said that an obsession with ‘normal births’ contributed to the biggest maternity scandal in NHS history.

She warned that pregnant women will not be safe to give birth until her full raft of recommendations are implemented.

Ms Ockenden said it was ‘astounding’ that ‘systemic’ failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust happened for so long.

Her report uncovered 1,592 times that women and their babies died or were left disabled or traumatised by their experiences at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust between 2000 and 2019.

This included babies suffering skull fractures, broken bones or developing cerebral palsy after traumatic forceps deliveries. Others were starved of oxygen and had life-changing brain injuries.

She said the Trust had come ‘to blame mothers… even for their own deaths’.

Ms Ockenden said last week that all ‘maternity services cannot provide safe and effective care’ without a new ‘blueprint’ for care for mothers and babies and proposed 15 ‘immediate and essential’ steps for every NHS maternity ward to take, including better training and better communication with families. 

Source: Daily Mail

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