Cumbria

Baby death campaigner James Titcombe awarded OBE

James Titcombe Image copyright PA
Image caption James Titcombe campaigned for an inquest into his son's death

A man whose campaign over the death of his newborn son led to a damning report on maternity services has been appointed OBE.

James Titcombe, from Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, said he was "proud" to be recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to patient safety.

His son, Joshua, died nine days after he was born at Furness General in 2008.

He refused to accept the explanations from health bosses as to what went wrong and pressed for a full inquiry.

He successfully argued for an inquest to take place which, in 2011, heard midwives repeatedly missed chances to spot and treat a serious infection which led to Joshua's death.

The resulting publicity led to other families sharing their experiences of the hospital's maternity unit and their demands for answers ultimately led to the government ordering the independent Morecambe Bay inquiry.

In March, the report into the unit - run by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust - found that a "lethal mix of problems" at a "seriously dysfunctional" workplace led to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother between 2004 and 2013.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Joshua, died nine days after he was born at Furness General in 2008

Mr Titcombe, who is now the Care Quality Commission's national adviser on patient safety, said: "I was very surprised when I found out the news, but feel proud that the struggle to ensure the NHS learns from what happened at Morecambe Bay has been recognised.

"I feel lucky to be now be working in the area of patient safety at a time when so many changes are happening.

"I'd like to say a huge thanks to my friends and family for their support and pay tribute to the many other people who are working hard to improve patient safety in the NHS."

Among the "shocking" problems uncovered at the trust were sub-standard clinical competence, extremely poor working relationships between different staff groups and repeated failure to investigate adverse incidents properly and learn lessons.

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