Police to open probe into major NHS trust after dozens of hospital baby deaths

​Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham

Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham

Will Hollis

By Will Hollis

Published: 07/09/2023

- 16:39

Updated: 07/09/2023

- 17:28

The deaths of dozens of babies born at hospitals in Nottingham will be examined by police.

Nottinghamshire Police announced that it is launching a criminal inquiry into multiple incidents on maternity wards operated by Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH).

An independent review at the Trust is already being led by midwife Donna Ockenden and a team of maternity professionals.

Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, Kate Meynell said: “On Wednesday I met with Donna Ockenden to discuss her independent review into maternity cases of potentially significant concern at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) and to build up a clearer picture of the work that is taking place.”

Donna Ockenden

Donna Ockenden


“We want to work alongside the review but also ensure that we do not hinder its progress. However, I am in a position to say we are preparing to launch a police investigation.”

“I have appointed the Assistant Chief Constable, Rob Griffin to oversee the preparations and the subsequent investigation.”

Donna Ockenden was also Chair of the Independent Maternity Review at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust. Her report published in March 2022 found that more than 200 baby deaths and incidents of brain damage, plus many more neo-natal deaths and stillbirths were avoidable.

“We are currently looking at the work being done in Shrewsbury and Telford by West Mercia Police to understand how they conducted their investigation alongside Donna Ockenden’s review and any lessons learnt” said Kate Meynell.

Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham is run by the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham is run by the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust


Families in Nottingham have been campaigning for a similar review into maternity services in the city since 2016.

It officially began in September last year. Once complete, the Nottingham review will be the biggest in British history examining more than 1800 incidents at NUH.

Reacting to the police investigation families said: “We welcome the long-awaited news of this police investigation and we are very grateful to the Chief Constable Kate Meynell for her decision.”

“There will be a wealth of information from victim families for her team to use. A large number of us have alleged crimes and we will be sharing our evidence with the police to assist them with their investigations.”

“There has been poor maternity care as well as poor investigation of that care at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust over many years.”

Anthony May\u200b

Anthony May


NUH recently declared it wanted an “honest and transparent” relationship with the families which accuse it of failing them and their babies.

Anthony May, Chief Executive for Nottingham University Hospitals said: “Today I have been notified by the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, Kate Meynell, that she is preparing to launch a Police investigation to work alongside the Independent Review into maternity services at NUH.”

“From the time of my appointment at NUH, I have expressed my commitment to the Independent Review. I have given the same commitment to the Chief Constable in respect of any Police investigation.”

“In the meantime, we will continue with our maternity improvement programme, which is driving changes in our maternity services. These changes include staffing levels, training, compliance with guidelines, record keeping and the provision and use of equipment.”

“Recently, the Care Quality Commission inspected our maternity services and informally reported improvements. The detailed formal CQC report will be published on 13 September, so the public will be able to judge the impact of our improvement work.”

The Independent Maternity Review NUH Trust recently switched to an opt-out model meaning families will not need to provide permission for an incident to be included. A deadline for its completion has not been set.

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