Cumbria

Furness baby deaths: Midwife Marie Ratcliffe admits 'mistakes'

Furness General Hospital Image copyright University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay
Image caption Ms Ratcliffe said she had "no intention" of returning to the profession

A former midwife at Furness General Hospital has admitted she "made mistakes" which contributed to the deaths of two babies.

Marie Ratcliffe, who did not attend the Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing, accepts 64 allegations relating to 14 patients between 2004 and 2013.

In a letter, she apologised to those affected and said she would "regret" what happened for the rest of her life.

She denied being part of any cover-up or an effort to "conceal the truth".

The accusations include contributing to the death and/or causing a baby to lose a significant chance of survival in relation to the deaths of Elleanor Bennett in 2004 and Alex Davey-Brady in 2008.

She also accepts more than 60 additional allegations which include failing to correctly monitor mothers and babies during labour, failure to document her actions and failure to request assistance from a doctor.

Amanda Hamilton, representing the Nursing and Midwifery Council, read out Ms Ratcliffe's letter in which said she felt "it was important not to delay" proceedings any further.

Ms Ratcliffe noted the system had been "flawed" but that she was "governed" by those procedures.

Image caption Gary and Lesley Bennett said health bosses "covered-up" failings surrounding the death of their daughter Elleanor

Panel chairman Gary Leong, said that by not attending the hearing in Stratford, east London, it was "very clear" that she did not wish to defend herself against the charges.

Ms Ratcliffe was dismissed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for 18 months at a conduct hearing in February 2014.

She said she had "no intention" of returning to the profession.

Last week, Cumbria Police said after concluding their own investigation into the deaths, they would not be be pressing any charges on any member of staff.

An independent inquiry last month revealed a "lethal mix" of failures at the maternity unit led to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother.

The hearing is expected to last until 15 May.

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