Police are launching an investigation into an NHS trust over what is described as the worst maternity scandal in the service’s history. West Mercia Police has confirmed it is investigating whether criminal charges should be brought against the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, over 1,200 cases including the allegedly avoidable deaths of babies and mothers. In 2017, an independent review was launched to look into the alleged failings of the NHS trust following the deaths of 23 infants. Hundreds of families are understood to have come forward since then, including cases which have seen infants left with permanent brain damage. The incidents in question occurred between 1979 and this year.
In a statement, Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Wessell said a police investigation will explore whether there is evidence to support a criminal case ‘against the Trust or any individuals involved’. He said: ‘Today we have met with NHS Improvement, The Department of Health and the independent reviewer to discuss complaints made against Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust in relation to maternity services and provision. The independent review is ongoing.
‘We can confirm that a police investigation will be conducted to explore whether there is evidence to support a criminal case either against the Trust or any individuals involved. ‘The investigation is now live so we are unable to comment any further at this time.
Chief executive at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Louise Barnett, said the Trust is fully co-operating fully with the investigation. She said: ‘We are aware that a police investigation will be conducted by West Mercia Police to explore whether there is evidence to support a criminal case either against the Trust or any individuals involved, following complaints made against the Trust in relation to maternity services and provision. ‘I would like to reassure all families affected that we are listening and acting on feedback.’ If anyone has any information in relation to this issue, who has not already been in touch with the review team, they are being urged to contact the police or the review team.