Mid Wales

Newtown mum welcomes Shrewsbury Hospital baby deaths review

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionKate Barnett describes her experience at the hospital

A mother from Powys whose son died at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital has welcomed a review into baby deaths.

NHS England and NHS Improvement is to investigate a cluster of baby deaths at hospitals under the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

Kate and Andrew Barnett from Newtown lost their son Jenson two days after his birth in June 2013.

The trust has apologised "unreservedly" to the families and said it was "progressing and learning lessons".

BBC News has learned of at least seven deaths in less than two years, which were later deemed as avoidable.

A failure to properly monitor the baby's heart rate was a contributory factor in five of the deaths.

Jenson Barnett's inquest was held in March 2014 and a coroner ruled the injuries he suffered during birth were "avoidable".

It heard he died from brain trauma caused during an unsuccessful forceps delivery.

Mrs Barnett spoke to BBC Wales after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the review.

She said the consultants had to use forceps during the delivery, but they "could not work out which way his [Jenson's] head was to apply them, so they applied them incorrectly".

"When they went to pull him the bed shunted back and the forceps slipped off his head," she said.

"I then got rushed for an emergency caesarean section."

Mrs Barnett said Jenson was born a "good few hours" after showing signs of stress, and she too almost died after losing three pints of blood.

She said Jenson was taken away and they did not see him for seven or eight hours, and when they did he had "tubes coming out of him and marks on his head".

"It was quite distressing," she said.

Mrs and Mrs Barnett were told Jenson would not survive the night, and he died on 18 June 2013.

"When you go to hospital to have a baby, you don't expect to come home without a baby," said Mrs Barnett.

She said they got through the grief of losing a baby with family and friends.

"Jenson is very much part of the family and will never be forgotten."

'Angry'

The hospital apologised to Mr and Mrs Barnett at the time of the inquest.

"They were going to do stuff about it and said things had changed, but obviously they haven't," said Mrs Barnett.

"Seeing all this on the news has really made me angry rather than upset. They haven't learnt anything.

"We didn't want anybody else to go through what we did. I just want people to learn from their mistakes."

Image caption The trust said its mortality rates were in line with the national average

Simon Wright, chief executive of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said the death of a baby is the "most tragic event imaginable".

"In recent years independent external reviews have repeatedly shown the trust is progressing and learning lessons but we must strive to do more," he said.

"Since joining the trust in late 2015 I've seen how our hospitals have been working hard to promote a culture of learning not blame."

'Cooperating fully'

"We are candid and open about any failing in order that we might spare the families further heartache, or the need for challenge to get to the truth."

Mr Wright welcomed the review and said the trust is "cooperating fully and transparently".

He said they have already taken steps to make improvements, including special training for midwives in fetal heart rate monitoring.

The trust has also invited the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives to the hospitals to provide "further independent assurance of progress".

More on this story