UK maternity scandal review finds 200 avoidable baby deaths

UK maternity scandal review finds 200 avoidable baby deaths
The review began in 2018 after two families that had lost their babies in the care of Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust in western England campaigned for an inquiry. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 30 March 2022

UK maternity scandal review finds 200 avoidable baby deaths

UK maternity scandal review finds 200 avoidable baby deaths
  • The review began in 2018 after two families that had lost their babies in the care of Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust campaigned for an inquiry
  • The investigation found that 131 stillbirths, 70 neonatal deaths and nine maternal deaths either could have or would have been avoided with better care

LONDON: A review into a scandal-hit British hospital group concluded Wednesday that persistent failures in maternity care contributed to the avoidable deaths of more than 200 babies over two decades.
The review began in 2018 after two families that had lost their babies in the care of Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust in western England campaigned for an inquiry.
Former senior midwife Donna Ockenden led an investigation into almost 1,600 incidents between 2000 and 2019, including cases of stillbirth, neonatal death, maternal death and other severe complications in mothers and newborns.
The investigation found that 131 stillbirths, 70 neonatal deaths and nine maternal deaths either could have or would have been avoided with better care.
Ockenden said Wednesday that hospital management “failed to investigate, failed to learn and failed to improve.”
“This resulted in tragedies and life-changing incidents for so many of our families,” she said.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Ockenden’s report revealed “a tragic and harrowing picture of repeated failures in care,” including a case where “important clinical information was kept on Post-it notes” that were swept into the trash by cleaners, “with tragic consequences for a newborn baby and her family.”
“To all the families that have suffered so gravely, I am sorry,” Javid said.
He told bereaved families that people would be held to account, saying some staff had been dismissed or barred from practicing, and police were investigating 600 incidents.
Ockenden’s initial report in 2020 found that a pattern of failures and poor maternal care led to avoidable deaths and harm to mothers and newborns. It said deaths were often not investigated and grieving mothers were at times blamed for their loss.
Ockenden said the hospital trust had a focus on keeping cesarean section rates low, and that in some cases opting to perform C-sections earlier would have avoided death and injury.
Ockenden said Wednesday she was “deeply concerned” that families continued to contact the review team in 2020 and 2021 with concerns about the safety of care at the hospital.
Ockenden said there had been some progress since her 2020 report but “systemic” improvement was needed across the country, including ensuring maternity units were properly staffed and funded.
Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust chief executive Louise Barnett offered “wholehearted apologies.”
She said “we owe it to those families we failed and those we care for today and in the future to continue to make improvements.”
Julie Rowlings, whose daughter Olivia died soon after her birth in 2002, welcomed the report’s strong conclusions.
“I feel like after 20 years, my daughter finally has a voice,” she said.
“For every family out there, every family that’s come forward, this is for them. Justice is coming. For every baby, justice is coming.”


Man charged with new woman’s killing on streets of London

Man charged with new woman’s killing on streets of London
Updated 57 min 39 sec ago

Man charged with new woman’s killing on streets of London

Man charged with new woman’s killing on streets of London
  • Jordan McSweeney, 29, is charged with the murder of 35-year-old Zara Aleena
  • He spoke only to confirm his name and details during a brief hearing at the Thames Magistrates' Court

LONDON: A man was remanded in custody Wednesday after appearing in a London court charged with the murder and attempted rape of a woman who had been walking home alone in east London.
It was the latest in a string of similar incidents that have heightened concern over the safety of women and girls on the British capital’s streets.
Jordan McSweeney, 29, is charged with the murder of 35-year-old Zara Aleena, who was attacked after a night out in Ilford in the early hours of Sunday.
McSweeney, who is also charged with attempted rape and robbery, spoke only to confirm his name and details during a brief hearing at the Thames Magistrates’ Court.
In a statement, Aleena’s family mourned her death and called for an end to violence against women. They highlighted the killings of other women who were targeted by strangers in London and elsewhere.
The family expressed sympathy to the families of Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa and others who were killed in recent months and whose deaths prompted widespread protests calling for more protection for women and girls.
The family said Aleena, a law graduate who was training to become a lawyer, “walked everywhere” and “believed that a woman should be able to walk home.”
“Sadly, Zara is not the only one who has had her life taken at the hands of a stranger. We all know women should be safe on our streets. She was in the heart of her community, 10 minutes from home,” their statement said.
Police said Aleena suffered serious head injuries, confirmed in a post-mortem examination.
McSweeney was denied bail and remanded in custody until he is due to appear at London’s Central Criminal Court on Jul. 27.
A march remembering Aleena is planned in Ilford on Saturday.


Japan’s Kishida backs Sweden’s NATO bid

Japan’s Kishida backs Sweden’s NATO bid
Updated 8 min 46 sec ago

Japan’s Kishida backs Sweden’s NATO bid

Japan’s Kishida backs Sweden’s NATO bid
  • Japan hopes to strengthen its relations with Sweden further as partners sharing basic values, Kishida added.

MADRID: Japanese Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio on Wednesday expressed support for Sweden’s bid to join NATO in a meeting with his Swedish counterpart, Magdalena Andersson, on Wednesday.
“We support (Sweden’s) historic decision. We also express our respect for its efforts,” Kishida told Andersson.
NATO, which opened a two-day summit in Madrid on Wednesday, is expected to grant membership to Sweden and Finland after Turkey switched to support their participation.
Kishida said that Japan and Sweden will hold the presidency of the Group of Seven major powers and the European Union, respectively, next year.
Japan hopes to strengthen its relations with Sweden further as partners sharing basic values, Kishida added.
Andersson expressed gratitude for Japan’s strong action against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

* This article originally appeared on Arab News Japan, click here to read it.


Russian court lets opposition figure’s jail term stand

Russian court lets opposition figure’s jail term stand
Updated 29 June 2022

Russian court lets opposition figure’s jail term stand

Russian court lets opposition figure’s jail term stand
  • The decision by the Moscow City Court came one day after Ilya Yashin was sentenced

MOSCOW: A court in Moscow on Wednesday rejected a prominent Russian opposition figure’s appeal of the 15-day jail sentence he received on charges of failing to obey police.
The decision by the Moscow City Court, the capital’s highest municipal judicial body, came one day after Ilya Yashin was sentenced.
Yashin, who has publicly criticized Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, was detained late Monday in a Moscow park. Police said he grabbed an officer by his uniform and insulted police, which Yashin denied.
In May, Yashin was ordered to pay 90,000 rubles ($1700) on charges of discrediting the Russian military.
Russia has cracked down on critics of its “special military operation” in Ukraine, A well-known dissident, Vladimir Kara-Murza, was arrested in April and remains jailed while awaiting trial on charges of spreading false information about the military. The offense carries a potential sentence of up to 15 years.


NATO invites Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, Madrid summit statement says

NATO invites Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, Madrid summit statement says
Updated 29 June 2022

NATO invites Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, Madrid summit statement says

NATO invites Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, Madrid summit statement says
  • The alliance also agreed on a new strategic concept

MADRID: NATO has invited Sweden and Finland to become members of the military alliance, a commununique published by the NATO summit in Madrid on Wednesday said.
“The accession of Finland and Sweden will make them (the allies) safer, NATO stronger and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure,” the communique said, adding that the alliance also agreed a new strategic concept.
The communique described Russia as the “most significant and direct threat to the allies’ security,” a reaction to the massively deteriorated relationship to Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.
The alliance pledged further help to Kyiv and agreed a package of support aimed at modernizing the country’s defense sector.
At the same time, NATO decided to significantly strengthen its own deterrence and defense.
“Allies have committed to deploy additional robust in-place combat-ready forces on our eastern flank, to be scaled up from the existing battlegroups to brigade-size units, where and when required underpinned by credible available reinforcements, prepositioned equipment, and enhanced command and control,” the communique said.
In the communique, the alliance described China as a challenge to NATO’s interests, security and values, and as a country that is seeking to undermine the rules-based international order.


EU proposes ban on flavored heated tobacco products

EU proposes ban on flavored heated tobacco products
Updated 29 June 2022

EU proposes ban on flavored heated tobacco products

EU proposes ban on flavored heated tobacco products
  • A recent commission study showed a 10% increase in sales of heated tobacco products in more than five member nations
  • The ban would cover devices using heated tobacco to produce emissions containing nicotine inhaled by users

BRUSSELS: The European Union’s executive branch on Wednesday proposed a ban on the sale of flavored heated tobacco products as part of its plan to fight cancer.
The European Commission said its proposal comes in response to a significant increase in the volume of such products sold across the 27-nation bloc.
A recent commission study showed a 10 percent increase in sales of heated tobacco products in more than five member nations, while heated tobacco products exceeded 2.5 percent of total sales of tobacco products overall across the region.
The ban would cover devices using heated tobacco to produce emissions containing nicotine inhaled by users. E-cigarettes may contain nicotine, but not tobacco. With traditional cigarettes, users inhale smoke from burning tobacco.
“With nine out of 10 lung cancers caused by tobacco, we want to make smoking as unattractive as possible to protect the health of our citizens and save lives,” said Stella Kyriakides, the commissioner for health and food safety.
According to EU figures, cancer is the second cause of death in the bloc of 450 million residents. There are about 1.3 million cancer deaths and 3.5 million new cases annually in the EU.
An estimated 40 percent of EU citizens will face cancer at some point in their lives, with the annual economic impact estimated at around 100 billion euros ($120 billion).
The European Commission previously said it wanted to ensure that less than 5 percent of the EU population uses tobacco by 2040.
The proposed ban now goes to member nations and European Parliament lawmakers for review.