Cumbria

Joshua Titcombe death: No prosecutions after police probe

Joshua Titcombe Image copyright PA
Image caption A coroner accused midwives of "colluding" over mistakes made in the care of Joshua Titcombe

A police investigation into the death of a baby born at a Cumbrian hospital will not result in any prosecutions.

The probe was launched in March 2011 after a complaint over the care given to Joshua Titcombe at Furness General Hospital, in Barrow.

It later looked at the deaths of 18 other babies and two mothers, but concluded in 2012 no action would be taken in relation to those cases.

An independent report concluded there had been a "lethal mix" of failures.

Joshua died of sepsis, nine days after being born at the hospital in November 2008.

'Assisted families'

His father James, refused to accept the explanations he was given for his death and in 2011 successfully argued for an inquest, which heard midwives repeatedly missed chances to spot and treat a serious infection.

Mr Titcombe said the outcome of the police investigation was "inevitable" and one he had been expecting for "some time".

Other families then contacted Cumbria Police, which began a more detailed investigation looking at 18 further deaths and 14 births that had resulted in complications.

Joshua's case was examined by the Health and Safety Executive, who have now notified police they will not be carrying out further investigations.

Image copyright Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Image caption Mr Titcombe said he is "satisfied" that the Kirkup Report "got to the truth"

Det Insp Doug Marshall said: "Although we have not been able to progress to a criminal prosecution, I am confident that it was right for us to undertake a police investigation.

"Our investigation meant that other agencies also began looking at what was happening at Furness General Hospital, and it assisted families in getting the independent investigation that they deserved.

"It was always going to be difficult for the police to reach the bar for prosecution. However, it was in the public interest for us to investigate these serious complaints as thoroughly as possible."

'Got to truth'

An inquiry into the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup and separate from the criminal investigation, last month found 20 major failures from 2004 to 2013.

Police said it did not raise "any further issues of significance that were not already known to the investigation team".

Mr Titcombe said: "I genuinely believe that the Kirkup Report has been a turning point and we're not looking for anymore investigations, I'm satisfied that that report got to the truth.

"As long as the trust follows through with the recommendations and implements them, then I think these terrible events will never be forgotten and the legacy will be safer services locally and improvements in patient safety nationally."

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