Dover MP presses for immediate improvement to East Kent maternity services after Thanet and Dover baby deaths

Contributed by editor on Jun 30, 2020 - 09:00 AM

Natalie Elphicke MP raises case of Tallulah Rai Edwards in Parliament


Dover & Deal MP Natalie Elphicke said pressure should be kept up to deliver immediate improvement to East Kent maternity services – following today’s announcement of an expert panel to oversee the independent inquiry.  

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The deaths of babies including Harry Richford from Thanet and Tallulah-Rai Edwards from Dover shone a light on problems with maternity services in East Kent.

An independent inquiry was ordered by Government following requests from local MPs including Mrs Elphicke, who welcomed the announcement by Dr Bill Kirkup leading the inquiry that it will be overseen by five experts across the fields of obstetrics, midwifery, neonatal medicine, clinical governance and information management who met for the first time today (June 29).

Natalie said: “I’ve had meetings with Dr Kirkup and pressed for this inquiry to look at the whole maternity process, from pre-birth monitoring through to labour care and mental health support after birth as well.

“We know from the families I’ve been speaking to that there have been issues at every stage. I therefore welcome Dr Kirkup’s comments today that this is exactly how his team will be approaching it.”

Dr Kirkup’s inquiry began in April, with the first phase involving contacting families affected. Mrs Elphicke, who put a number of families in touch with the inquiry team, also said the trust should not take its foot off the pedal in making immediate improvements to local maternity services following the recent CQC report which rated the trust’s maternity services as “requires improvement”.

She said: “The families affected deserve to know exactly what happened and it’s also the best way for lessons to be learnt. But while we wait for the report from the Kirkup investigation, the Trust can't take their foot off the pedal.

“Urgent changes are still needed to maternity care as it is clear from the CQC that they still don’t think things are where they need to be. All the families who have spoken to me have made it clear that they don't want any else has to go through what they have.

“From my discussions with him I am sure Dr Kirkup’s investigation will be through and comprehensive. It is essential that urgent changes are made to maternity care right now as well as following Dr Kirkup's report.”

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