Dozens of babies and three mothers died on the wards of a single hospital trust, in what is being described as the largest maternity scandal in the history of the NHS, The Independent can today reveal.
Clinical malpractice was allowed to continue unchecked over a period of 40 years, with repeated failings by doctors, midwives and hospital bosses, according to a leaked internal report.
The investigation singles out the deaths of at least 42 babies and three mothers at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SATH) between 1979 and 2017.
More than 50 children also suffered permanent brain damage after being deprived of oxygen during birth, the investigation discovered, as well as identifying 47 other cases of substandard care.
A senior NHS source told The Independent: “I think you can say with absolute confidence this is the largest known maternity scandal in the UK – significantly larger than Morecambe Bay – and early findings show dozens of avoidable deaths.”
In total, more than 600 cases are now being examined, and with hundreds still to be looked at, the toll is expected to grow. The Independent has learnt deaths and injuries were still being reported to the panel up to the end of 2018.
The Morecambe Bay scandal, which saw 11 babies and one mother die avoidable deaths at Cumbria’s Furness General Hospital between 2004 and 2013, was, until now, the worst ever maternity scandal in the history of the health service.