Charges of misconduct made against two midwives at a hospital trust that is under investigation for alleged maternity failings have been found proved.
Laura Jones and Hayley Lacey, from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, are currently having their fitness to practise reviewed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council following the death of a baby.
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The pair were working at Wrekin Midwifery Led Unit at the trust’s Princess Royal Hospital in Telford when a baby, only named by the NMC as Baby K, was born on 19 August 2015. He died four days later. The two midwives are not accused of causing Baby K’s death.
The NMC’s panel found that both Ms Jones and Ms Lacey had failed to communicate with each other in a way that provided Patient A with continuous care on the day of Baby K’s birth.
There was no written evidence of proper handovers of Patient A between the two midwives between 4.05pm and 6.30pm on 19 August 2015, it noted.
The pair accepted in their evidence that there had been “a misunderstanding in the communication” between them. They both acknowledged that they had failed to complete written handover notes for Patient A.
Ms Jones had admitted that she did not carry out and/or record auscultation of the baby’s heart rate on two occasions on 19 August 2015, but contested that it was not her responsibility to do so, because Ms Lacey was still in charge of Patient A at that time.
However, Ms Lacey argued that she had handed over Patient A into Ms Jones’ care. The panel favoured Ms Lacey’s version of events.
Ms Jones also accepted that she did not refer and/or transfer Patient A to a consultant-led unit when she discovered that she had “elevated” blood pressure.
The NMC determined that the two midwives were honest in their evidence. It highlighted that Patient A had been “clear and calm during a time that must have been very difficult”.
The panel will reconvene in April to decide if the midwives’ fitness to practise was impaired and if any regulatory action should be taken against them.
The hearing was held in connection with an independent review of maternity care at the trust ordered by the government in 2017 following a series of baby deaths, brain injuries and maternal deaths.
In October last year, the Care Quality Commission placed conditions on the trust’s registration after inspectors raised serious concerns about the monitoring of unborn babies.