Families affected by maternity care failings at a scandal-hit NHS trust are calling for action against those responsible for the death and harm of hundreds of babies and mothers a year after an independent review was launched.
A review is underway into more than 1,700 cases of possible harm to newborn babies and mothers at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUHT) over a 10-year period.
Friday marks the first anniversary of the independent review into care failings at NUHT, led by Donna Ockenden, who led a similar review into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.
But Nottingham Families Maternity Group said that while progress had been made, no senior leaders or staff at NUHT had been sanctioned and at times had been "rewarding" unsafe care.
The families are now calling for a police investigation into whether anyone is criminally culpable.
READ MORE: Nottingham maternity inquiry to investigate 1,700 cases in largest-ever baby deaths probe (The Independent, 3-min read)
They said: "To date, not a single person – clinical staff, managerial staff, board member, commissioner, governance lead – has been held to account for the known, avoidable and predictable failures.
"How is this possible? Local coroners have concluded ‘neglect’ in multiple inquests.
"This, along with the high number of medical negligence cases, should surely trigger disciplinary processes."
The families said a change in values by board leaders at NUHT was "welcomed" and had taken "a huge weight" from families' shoulders.
READ MORE: Nottingham maternity scandal set to be biggest in NHS - as 'disregarded' families demand apology (Sky News, 2-min read)
They added: "It has been our feeling that previous NUH boards have been protecting inadequate and unsafe care, allowing it to continue and even rewarding it at times.
"This explains why we continue to be contacted by families who have been recently harmed.
"This change in values by the board leaders is welcomed. To date, you can cause horrific harm at NUH with no consequence, but now we expect accountability.
"We expect action; just as there would be if a baby or mother had died or suffered a horrific injury in any other circumstance."
What is the independent review looking into?
Donna Ockenden is leading the review into maternity care failings at the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust, which is examining around 1,700 family cases in what could be the NHS’s biggest maternity scandal.
In July, she announced that hundreds more cases would be investigated after NHS England agreed that families would have to opt out of being included, More than 650 staff have also come forward to share concerns.
Nottingham Families Maternity Group said: "Even very recently, we have fought for the review to be a comprehensive one, to ensure all families whose harm fits the categories and years outlined by the review are automatically included.
"It’s only in recent months that we have received support from several board members of NHS England, support that again, we have fought for but for which we’re very grateful.
"We are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, uncles, and aunts who will continue our fight until there is accountability and change."
READ MORE: Nottingham maternity scandal: Families still tell of 'poor care' a year after review launched (Sky News, 4-min read)
What has NUHT said?
Anthony May, chief executive of NUHT, said it had 'prioritised engagement' with the review and that was 'committed to making the necessary improvements'.
He said: "We work closely with the review team led by Donna Ockenden and meet regularly with the team to listen to the feedback, respond accordingly and inform our improvement plan.
"We are determined to fulfil the commitment we made in July to an open and honest relationship with the families involved in the review and all women and families within our maternity services.
"We still have a long way, but our communities can be assured that maternity services are improving and we are making sustainable progress in a number of areas to benefit the safety and wellbeing of women, families and staff as part of our Maternity Improvement Programme.
"We are focused on learning from incidents, improving our culture and communicating more effectively with women and families that use our services."
READ MORE: ‘Not a single person held to account’: Families demand action against those who caused baby deaths at NHS trust (Independent, 6-min read)
Who is Donna Ockenden?
Donna Ockenden is a midwifery expert who led a similar review into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.
That review concluded that catastrophic failures there may have led to the deaths of more than 200 babies.
Ockenden is a senior midwife with more than 30 years experience of working within a variety of health settings in the UK and internationally and was Chair of the England Royal College of Midwives (RCM) between 2006 and 2014.
She was approached by families in Nottingham after chairing the review into the deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust and has spoken of the importance of listening to the families to help improve maternity services.