Dean Russell MP speaks in Ministerial Statement on Ockenden review

Updated: Apr 28

Dean Russell: Reading this report is utterly heart breaking, and my heart goes out to the families who have been involved in this terrible situation. Leadership, workplace culture and patient safety clearly go hand in hand, so what steps is my hon. Friend taking to strengthen clinical leadership, in order to ensure that all maternity wards are the safest they can be?

Health Minister: I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for not only his work at Watford General Hospital—he is probably there more often some of the patients—but his commitment to mental health in his constituency. He has launched a programme of 1,000 mental health first aiders, which is a tremendous boost to his constituents. I am aware of his work, and I thank him for it.

My hon. Friend has hit the nail on the head. Midwifery leadership has been strengthened this year by the appointment of seven regional chief midwives, working with local maternity services to ensure the provision of safer and more personal care for women, babies and their families. I am sure that the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Justin Madders) had the same thoughts that I did on reading the report. There is a lack of collegiate working—“Let’s not let the doctors have this. Let’s keep this for the midwives”—and a lack of team working. The recommendations in the report put forward solutions to end that culture and to introduce one where doctors, nurses and midwifery champions work together, as a team, with the mother, who is in control of and owns her birth plan, because that is what it should be about.