The Morecambe Bay Investigation was commissioned by DH but worked completely independently of the department to look at the maternity and neonatal services in University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.
Between January 2004 and June 2013 there were a series of deaths of mothers and newborn babies in the maternity and neonatal services unit at Furness General Hospital. Several reviews took place during this period. However, these reviews have not given those affected confidence that all of the facts have been heard and all of the underlying issues have been resolved.
On 12 September 2013 the Secretary of State for Health therefore announced an independent investigation into Morecambe Bay Maternity and Neonatal Services.
What the investigation covered
The investigation focused on the actions, systems and processes of the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. It also investigated the actions of regulators and commissioners where those actions affected the safety of maternity and neonatal services provided by the Trust.
This investigation was chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE, who has experience as a senior public heath doctor and has served on a number of previous independent investigation panels.
The ‘Morecambe Bay Investigation: terms of reference’ for the investigation provide full details of what the investigation would cover.
Who will investigate
Dr Kirkup was supported by a panel of expert advisors in obstetrics, midwifery, paediatrics, nursing, ethics and how hospitals are run (clinical governance).
How the investigation was run
Several organisations will provide the investigation with written evidence, including:
- University Hospital Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust
- Department of Health
- NHS England
- Care Quality Commission
- Healthcare Commissioner
- Health and Safety Executive
- Public Health England
- Cumbria Constabulary
The investigation will also hear from:
- those involved and their relatives
- those responsible for the delivery, management and regulation of maternity and neonatal services
- anyone else with relevant information
The ‘Morecambe Bay Investigation: method statement’ gives further details on the investigation’s methodology.
Report and recommendations
The investigation’s report was published in March 2015.