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University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust

Findings from Morecambe Bay maternity inquiry set for further delay

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An investigation into maternal deaths and failings at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust looks set to be delayed for the second time.

Chair of the inquiry Bill Kirkup has confirmed that the timetable for the inquiry to publish its findings, expected this autumn, had been placed under review.

“I have said from the outset of the Morecambe Bay investigation that while it is important to be prompt, that should not be to the detriment of carrying out a thorough and complete investigation,” he told Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.

“We are currently reviewing the timetable in light of the evidence to be assessed and the need for additional interviews,” he said. “No final decision has been made yet, and we will talk to families as soon as we are in a position to do so.

The inquiry, which is not open to the public, was established to investigate a number of maternal and infant deaths at Morecambe Bay between 2004 and 2008.

Bill Kirkup

Bill Kirkup

It had originally been scheduled to report in July this year, but was pushed back to the autumn following the volume of evidence and organisations it planned to examine.

Last month it emerged more than 200 deaths of mothers and babies at the trust had been investigated, with over 50 cases identified for detailed analysis.

Witnesses who have already given evidence to the inquiry include chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings and former NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson.

The inquiry has said it plans to call former Labour health ministers to give evidence but is yet to name which ones it wishes to question.

While the names and dates for witnesses to give evidence has been announced by the inquiry, no transcripts or detailed summaries of what was said have been published.

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