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Kirkup Report into Maternity Services in East Kent

The Kirkup Report ‘Reading the signals: maternity and neonatal services in East Kent – the report of the independent investigation’ into services at the East Kent University NHS Foundation Trust was published on 19 October 2022.


Our baby loss charity would like to add our thanks to all the families who shared their experiences with the review team.  We really do understand how harrowing that must have been for each and every one of them.  Thank you.


It makes extremely disturbing reading.


This report identifies four main areas for action.


It says the NHS could be much better at:

• identifying poorly performing units

• giving care with compassion and kindness

• teamworking with a common purpose

• responding to challenge with honesty

As we say, the report makes very difficult reading and we hope the NHS Trust will address each and every recommendation leading to safer services and fewer baby deaths.  We have recently made contact with the newly appointed Bereavement Midwife at the William Harvey Hospital and will again offer any help and support.

Tracey Fletcher, chief executive of East Kent Hospitals, said: "I want to say sorry and apologise unreservedly for the harm and suffering that has been experienced by the women and babies who were within our care, together with their families, as described in today’s report.

"These families came to us expecting that we would care for them safely, and we failed them.

"We must now learn from and act on this report; for those who have taken part in the investigation, for those who we will care for in the future, and for our local communities. I know that everyone at the Trust is committed to doing that.

"In the last few years we have worked hard to improve our services and have invested to increase the numbers of midwives and doctors, in staff training, and in listening to and acting on feedback from the people who receive our care.

"While we have made progress, we know there is more for us to do and we absolutely accept that. Now that we have received the report, we will read it in full and the Board will use its recommendations to continue to make improvements so that we are providing the safe, high-quality care our patients expect and deserve.

"I want every family – ​whether they contributed to the investigation or not – to know I am here to listen to them, to learn and to lead our Trust in acting on this report. 

"I would like to thank Dr Bill Kirkup and the investigation team for their work. Today, our thoughts remain with those who have shared their experiences. We are grateful to them.”

Our Charity’s thoughts are with every single family affected by the death of a baby, no matter when, and no matter what the circumstances.  Every baby death is one too many.


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