Nottingham maternity scandal: New review chair resigns after mounting pressure

Nottingham maternity scandal: New review chair resigns after mounting pressure
Families had previously called for NHS England’s newly appointed review chair to decline the offer

The newly appointed chair of a major review into poor maternity care in Nottingham has resigned following mounting pressure from families.

Julie Dent was appointed by the NHS just two weeks ago to lead a review into hundreds of cases of alleged poor care at Nottingham University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

On 7 April more than 100 families called for Ms Dent to decline the offer after they previously urged NHS England to appointed Donna Ockenden, who chaired the Shrewsbury and Telford maternity inquiry.

In a letter to families on Wednesday chief operating officer David Sloman, said: “After careful consideration and further conversations with her family, Julie Dent, has for personal reasons, decided not to proceed as chair of the Independent Review of maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.”

The letter said that NHS England and Improvement would still have “oversight” of the independent review and that it is establishing a “new review” process.

Mr Sloman said he would write to families to inform them of the new stages in the review “shortly”.

The Nottingham independent materity review was launched in July last year has had more than 500 families come forward, the majority of those in the last two months.

On 7 April, families wrote health secretary Sajid Javid asking for Donna Ockenden to chair a new review, saying they had no confidence in the way the review was being carried out.

Ms Ockenden replied to the families’ inital letter saying she would be happy to chair the review subject to being asked.

NHS England has since been criticised after it informed families on late on Friday 22 April of Ms Dent’s appointment. Families said they had been “traumatised” by the way the news had been broken.

In thier response to Ms Dent’s appointment the families asked for her to decline the role.

Last week former health secretary Jeremy Hunt questioned why NHS England had not appointed Ms Ockenden and said he would be taking the issue up with Mr Javid.

The Nottingham review, dubbed an “independent thematic review”, is being led by local NHS commissioners and NHS England.

It was announced after The Independent and Channel 4 revealed millions had been paid out by the trust over 30 baby deaths and 46 incidents of babies left permanently brain damaged by Nottingham University Hospitals Foundation Trust.