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Substandard care at “dysfunctional” Morecambe Bay maternity unit led to unnecessary deaths

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 03 March 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1221
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

The maternity unit at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria was “seriously dysfunctional,” and failures of clinical care led to the unnecessary deaths of mothers and babies, an independent investigation has concluded.1

The investigation, led by Bill Kirkup, a former associate chief medical officer and regional director of public health who previously led investigations into the Oxford paediatric cardiac surgery unit and Jimmy Savile’s involvement with Broadmoor Hospital, detailed 20 instances of significant failures of care in the maternity unit run by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. These failures may have contributed to the deaths of three mothers and 16 babies between 2004 and 2013. The prevalence of serious failures of care was four times that at the trust’s other main maternity unit, the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. Different clinical care in these cases would have been expected to prevent the death …

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