Robison orders baby deaths review

A review of care is to be held at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, where there have been six deaths of babies categorised as unnecessary since 2008.

Shona Robison, the health secretary, yesterday ordered the review into the hospital to be carried out by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Parents whose babies died during childbirth have already been given an apology by Ayrshire and Arran health board after the deaths over the past eight years were classed as unnecessary.

Ms Robison ordered the review after some of the bereaved families told the BBC that they were still waiting for answers and called for a public inquiry.

Unnecessary or avoidable deaths are those in which harm is caused to a healthy baby during delivery — usually resulting in them being deprived of oxygen.

June and Fraser Morton from Kilmarnock, whose son Lucas died at the hospital a year ago, are among the parents involved. Mr Morton said: “It has taken such a toll. We’ve lost our future. So we can’t give up.”

NHS Ayrshire and Arran has offered “sincerest condolences” to the family. It has apologised to Mrs Morton for “the management offered to you in the later weeks of your pregnancy which almost certainly failed to identify complications that contributed to Lucas’s very tragic and unnecessary death”.

Although the health board referred to the death as a severe adverse event, it did not carry out a full serious adverse event review, which is common practice in the NHS.

External reviews by the health board refer to “substandard” and “suboptimal” care.

Yesterday Ms Robison said: “I have today instructed Healthcare Improvement Scotland to carry out a review into the cases in Ayrshire and Arran to inform me whether the correct procedures and processes were properly followed in these cases.

“I have asked HIS to report back to me with their findings at the earliest opportunity, after which I would be happy to discuss those findings with the families concerned.

“If there are lessons to be learned or improvements which need to be made, we will not hesitate to act.”

In relation to the case of Lucas Morton, the Crown Office said: “The investigation, under the direction of the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit, is ongoing and the family will continue to be kept updated.”