Babies died as medics pressured parents into normal births at ‘pretty much any cost’

Babies died or were left brain damaged after parents were pressurised into ­having normal births at a scandal-hit maternity unit.

The head of the inquiry in to avoidable deaths of hundreds of mothers and tots told how it would have been safer if medics had carried out caesareans.

Top midwife Donna Ockenden said staff at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust were focused on normal births at “pretty much any cost”.

She told the Health Committee: “Hundreds of women have said to us they felt pressured to have a normal birth.

“This came from obstetricians and midwives.

“There were ­occasions when had a baby been delivered by caesarean section, the outcome may well have been better and almost certainly safer.”

Babies were left brain damaged due to skull fractures caused by forceps.

Ms Ockenden said mums were not listened to and even blamed for the deaths of tots.

She added: “There was a culture of ‘this is your fault’ to mothers.”

A transformation of the way pregnant women are treated by the NHS has been ordered after her review of 250 test cases.

Mum blamed for losing daughter as midwives shouted at her
Last week we reported on a mum bravely reliving how she was blamed for losing her baby daughter as the damning report into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust was released.

The review into baby deaths found horrendous failings in that, between 2013 and 2016, maternity death rates were 10 per cent higher than in comparable hospital trusts.

The report said that when completed, the review of 1,862 families “will be the largest number of clinical reviews undertaken relating to a single service, as part of an inquiry, in the history of the NHS”.

A total of 13 mothers died between 2000 and 2019 and others were called pathetic and lazy or left screaming for hours without treatment.

It found the death of Kate Stanton Davies in 2009, who died just six hours after she was born, was “avoidable”.

Her parents Rhiannon Davies and Richard Stanton were among those who started the campaign for an independent review into maternity care at the trust.

Ms Davies told Sky News: “It was like, come on girls there’s nothing wrong with you, and right at the point of Kate being born, obviously that is very difficult.

“I remember the midwife shouting at me.”