Investigation into 26 cases at NHS trust after coroner found baby death ‘wholly avoidable’

A further 26 cases are being investigated after a coroner found the death of a seven-day old baby was “wholly avoidable”.

Health Minister Nadine Dorries said an investigation into the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust would conclude next month.

Harry Richford died a week after he was born in November 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.

A coroner last week concluded his death was “wholly avoidable” following failings at the hospital.

It comes amid reports that at least seven preventable baby deaths may have occurred at the trust since 2016.

During health questions, Labour MP Rosie Duffield (Canterbury) said: “Following the desperately upsetting news headlines last week about preventable baby deaths in east Kent, including Harry Richford aged just seven days old whose death was described by the coroner as wholly avoidable.

“Will the Secretary of State join me and Harry’s family in calling for a full transparent public inquiry?”

Responding, Ms Dorries (pictured) said: “I’d like to reassure the honourable lady that the CQC (Care Quality Commission) has conducted a further investigation of the whole trust last week and will take enforcement action if necessary.

“I’ve asked them to provide a summary report in 14 days, that was on Monday.

“Also, the Health Service inspection board has examined 26 individual maternity cases at the trust and have already reported on 15.

“They have also been asked on Monday to complete their work within 14 days and send a summary report to give us further information.”

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