Independent report

Maternity and neonatal services in East Kent: 'Reading the signals' report

The report of the independent investigation led by Dr Bill Kirkup on maternity and neonatal services in East Kent.

Applies to England



On 13 February 2020 the Minister of State, DHSC, confirmed in Parliament that, following concerns raised about the quality and outcomes of maternity and neonatal care, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) had commissioned Dr Bill Kirkup CBE to undertake an independent investigation into maternity and neonatal services at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. The terms of reference were published on 11 March 2021.

The primary reason for this report is to set out the truth of what happened, so that maternity services in East Kent can begin to meet the standards expected nationally, for the sake of those to come. This report identifies 4 areas for action. 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
Published 19 October 2022