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NMC apologises to families for Morecambe Bay failings

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Major failings saw the deaths of 11 babies and 1 mother at Furness General Hospital between 2004 and 2013

Families whose children died because of midwifery failings have received an apology from the chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Major mistakes made by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust caused the deaths of 11 babies and 1 mother at Furness General Hospital between 2004 and 2013.

Speaking before the Health Select Committee, Philip Graf, chair of the NMC, said in an opening statement that the NMC ‘didn’t listen’ or ‘act quickly enough.’

‘I am extremely sorry for our part in the families suffering over this,’ said Mr Graf.

‘We didn't listen. When we did listen, we didn't act quickly enough. Those gaps in what we did and didn't do have caused a risk to families. Our listening was simply inadequate.’

‘The gaps meant there were midwives who were practising who maybe shouldn't have been practising and therefore mothers and babies were put at risk because of those delays and those gaps. We accept completely our responsibility for that.’

This statement follows a report from the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) which showed that the NMC monitored families they saw as difficult for pushing for investigations into the deaths of their children.

Days before this report was released NMC chief executive Jackie Smith revealed that she was stepping down.

James Titcombe, whose son Joshua died at the hospital at only 9 days old, has been very vocal about the proceedings and was highlighted in the report as being one of the difficult family members.

‘Over the years I’ve had so many exchanges with Smith, trying desperately to argue that putting the FGH cases on hold was the wrong thing to do & that lives were at risk. She treated me with utter contempt & I absolutely believe that lives were lost as a consequence’ he Tweeted after the hearing.

‘When the evidence that more lives had indeed been lost whilst the NMC did nothing emerged, instead of being honest – the NMC responded with spin & PR, focusing on their reputation rather than what they needed to learn.’

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