Medical Negligence at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Medical Negligence at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital is a teaching hospital in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. The hospital delivers a range of acute hospital services, including inpatient medical care and critical care, accident and emergency, and outpatients. It is managed by the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

The hospital has made the headlines for the wrong reasons.  Although the hospital has been in the media over the last couple years, the reality is that there have been problems at the hospital as far back as 2007 when NHS regulators drew attention to issues in the maternity unit, which were not actioned. It was in 2017 that the Government launched an inquiry into avoidable deaths at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. An interim report reveals stories of death and of babies being left brain-damaged because of failure to take action during labour.

Medical Negligence Solicitors:  The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Our medical negligence lawyers regularly act for clients all over England and Wales. We are able to pursue medical negligence compensation claims against The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. We are experienced in handling claim for birth injury, including anoxic brain injury compensation, birth asphyxia, cephalohematoma, cerebral palsy, erbs palsy and hypoxic brain injury.

To make a claim for medical negligence compensation against The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital please call 0333 123 9099, email or use the enquiry form to request a call back.

What has happened at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital?

In 2017 Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced an investigation into avoidable baby deaths at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which is responsible for running the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Telford's Princess Royal Hospital. This independent review began after the local coroner and bereaved families expressed concern about the number of avoidable baby deaths.

That investigation is led by a maternity expert, Donna Ockenden. Donna Ockenden is the chair of the Independent review. She is a midwifery expert.

The investigation is looking at claims that children and mothers died or were permanently harmed by care failures at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital and at Shrewsbury Royal Hospital.

Donna Ockenden says that, "my team and I will look into all potentially serious concerns around maternity care at the Trust that are brought to our attention. Every call and message is very important to us and one of the team will be in touch as soon as we can".

The review was initially focusing on 23 cases in which maternity failings were alleged. However, in August 2019 the scope of the investigation was expanded, to consider 40 cases between 1998 and 2017.

Over the years more and more families have come forward, where there are now hundreds of families concerned about their own experience and the experience of their loved ones at these hospitals. In January 2020 the Government revealed about 100 new cases of poor maternity care had been identified, bringing the total to 900. Nadine Dorries, a health minister, informed the House of Commons the total number of suspected cases now stood at 900, the previous number of suspected cases being 800.

Leaked document from the inquiry into the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

In November 2019 a document was leaked, which appears to be an internal update, as at February 2019.

The leaked report, from 2019, identifies a number of issues:-

  • Babies left brain-damaged because staff failed to realise a labour was going wrong or from group B strep or meningitis, that can often be treated by antibiotics.
  • Heartbeat not monitored adequately during labour
  • Multiple families, "when deceased babies are given the wrong names by the Trust-frequently in writing "and "on occasions referred to a deceased baby as "it"".
  • The report also refers to an inadequate review carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in 2017 and the "misplaced" optimism of the regulator in charge, in 2007.

One expert, Dr Bill Kirkup, says the scandal may be more widespread across the NHS.

Dr Kirkup let the enquiry at the Morecambe Bay Trust, where there was another scandal. 11 babies and one mother died.

Emerging Findings and Recommendations from the Independent Review of Maternity Services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

On the 10 December 2020 Donna Ockenden published her Emerging Findings report, bringing to the attention of the Secretary of State (Matt Hancock) actions which those conducting this review, “believe need to be urgently implemented to improve the safety of maternity services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust as well as learning that we recommend be shared and acted on by maternity services across England”.

This review records, “One of the most disappointing and deeply worrying themes that has emerged is the reported lack of kindness and compassion from some members of the maternity team at the Trust”.

The report has made a number of recommendations:

  •    Safety in maternity units across England must be strengthened by increasing partnerships between Trusts and within local networks
  • maternity services must ensure that women and their families are listened to with their voices heard; staff who work together must train together
  •  there must be robust pathways in place for managing women with complex pregnancies
  •  staff must ensure that women undergo a risk assessment at each contact throughout the pregnancy pathway;
  • all maternity services must appoint a dedicated Lead Midwife and Lead Obstetrician both with demonstrated expertise to focus on and champion best practice in fetal monitoring;
  • ·All Trusts must ensure women have ready access to accurate information to enable their informed choice of intended place of birth and mode of birth, including maternal choice for cesarean delivery.

Is it too late to bring a medical negligence claim against the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital?

The general rule is that a person has three years from the date that they suffered harm, in which to make a claim for compensation. However, most importantly in the case of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, where babies have been left brain-damaged, time does not run against the child until they reached their 18th birthday. Therefore, it is most likely that those babies and families who have been affected by substandard care at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital can still make a claim for very substantial compensation, likely to run into millions of pounds, in the most serious of cases.

Although babies and children are given a longer period of time to make a claim, it is advisable to make a claim as soon as possible, to enhance the prospects of success and to obtain compensation as quickly as possible, to improve the quality of life for the child and family.

In cases of death the family have three years from the date of the death to make a claim for compensation. This is particularly important for the family of a patient who died in late 2019. The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital launched an investigation into the death of the patient, which they describe as a “sad and tragic matter”. The coroner opened an inquest. 

An inquest was also held into the death of Jeffrey Alan Passmore who died after suffering a cardiac arrest at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in April 2019. The coroner said the patient’s wait could have been a factor in Mr Passmore’s death. Shropshire Coroner John Ellery recorded Mr Passmore's medical cause of death as ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm and hypertension.

How Much Compensation will I get from the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital?

The amount of compensation a person is entitled to always depend upon the precise details of the injury and the consequences of that. For those families whose child has suffered brain injury or brain damage due to errors or mistakes by the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, they are likely to be entitled to very substantial sums, in many cases running into millions of pounds.

The compensation will be made up of various awards to reflect the consequences of the harm. These awards are likely to consist of:-

  • compensation for the damage to the brain and the impact upon the child’s health;
  • compensation for a new home if the child requires special equipment and long-term care;
  • compensation for extra educational tuition;
  • compensation for loss of earnings if the brain damage either prevents the child from working at all or prevents them from reaching their potential;
  • compensation for family members, particularly parents, reflecting the many hours of care, love and devotion they dedicate to their child;
  • compensation for specially adapted vehicles to transport the child;
  • compensation for equipment, such as wheelchairs and hoists, where needed;
  • compensation for the additional cost of holidays;
  • compensation for therapies, perhaps speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy;

Care Quality Commission Inspection Report for The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital published 2 August 2019

In 2018 CQC Inspectors were so concerned by what they saw in the maternity and emergency wards, that they required weekly status reports. A few weeks later the Trust received its third warning in four months. The Trust was then placed in specialise measures, meaning it was no longer trusted to run itself alone.

The outcome of the inspection carried out on 16 April 2019 was to grade the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, overall, as "inadequate". This means that the service (the hospital) is performing badly and the inspectors have taken enforcement action against the providers of the service, in this case the Trust.

On the issue of safety, the inspectors reported that services did not always manage patient safety incidents well. They stated that the deteriorating patient was not always recognised within urgent and emergency care services to ensure timely and appropriate care was provided.

Importantly, not all hospital services had a sufficient number of staff, with the right qualifications, training and experience, to keep patients safe from avoidable harm and abuse. It was reported that there was no data available for adult safeguarding training for medical staff.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the inspectors were concerned about the effectiveness of the delivery of services, forming the view that this area required improvement. Effective action was not always taken to drive improvement.

On the positive side, the rating for caring remained as good. Health staff delivered compassionate care, with patient privacy and dignity being maintained.

With such a poor overall rating it is noteworthy that on the rating of “well-led”, fell to inadequate. Staff at the hospital reported a disconnect between them and the senior management team and the board. Although there were systems for identifying risks, planning to eliminate or reduce them, and coping with the unexpected, timely and effective action was not always taken to mitigate that risk.

The trust did not always use a systematic approach to improve the quality of its services or safeguard high standards of care.

In respect of ratings for specific services within the hospital the inspectors provided a rating of "requires improvement" of the following health services:-

  • Maternity
  • Surgery
  • End-of-life care
  • Critical care
  • Medical care (including older people's care).

“Requires improvement” is defined as “the service is not performing as well as it should ,and we have told the service how it must improve.”

In respect of maternity services, the inspectors identified no clear process for accessing medical reviews of women who presented on the day assessment unit, as being high risk or that the risk had increased. Medical reviews could not always be accessed in a timely manner. Furthermore, there was no defined pathway for supporting women with reduced fetal movements. The maternity service did not assess, monitor or manage women with high risk pregnancies in the correct environment, with the support of medical staff. This meant that if the risks were identified there was a delay in transferring women to the obstetric led unit.

The inspectors stated there was a shortage of midwives mainly due to sickness and maternity leave.

The only service areas that were identified as being "good", were outpatients and diagnostic imaging, and services for children and young people. "Good" is defined as, “the service is performing well and meeting the inspectors’ expectations”.

We are recognised as specialists

We are accredited by the Law Society for Personal Injury Law reflecting our expertise in this area. IBB Claims’ partner Malcolm Underhill has particular expertise with all types of brain injuries, being accredited as a Brain Injury Specialist by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Our team is recognised by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500, the two leading client guides to the legal profession, for our exceptional skill in handling clinical negligence claims.

Legal 500 judges IBB as having a “good” clinical negligence department and “puts the client’s interests at the forefront of every decision.” Simon Pimlott has “a real eye for detail and works incredibly hard to get the best result for each client.”

Chambers describes Malcolm as being a highly experienced personal injury practitioner with a strong focus on cases that involve brain injury. A client notes: "He is a very personable, sympathetic professional that has helped us as a family….."

A market source praises Malcolm’s "clear and empathetic understanding of the individual client and family situation." One impressed client adds: "Malcolm Underhill has been superb from the outset. He has in-depth knowledge gained from extensive experience, which is certainly advantageous."

Chambers and Partners also record that Simon Pimlott "communicates effectively and swiftly" and "works in a highly professional and client-focused way," according to commentators.

Experience of Medical Negligence Claims

We handle medical negligence claims on a range of issues. Some of the specialist areas we cover are listed below.   

Call now for advice on how to make a medical negligence compensation claim.

IBB Claims expert medical negligence Solicitors have a strong track record of success, helping individuals to recover financial compensation for the harm they have suffered. We are able to support you in making the claim and to get the best outcome. To make a medical negligence claim against The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital please call 0333 123 9099, email or use the enquiry form to request a call back.