AN investigation into a stillbirth at Leighton Hospital has revealed failings and maladministration.

A damning report by the health Ombusdman, covering the incident May 2009, found that Mid Cheshire Hospital Foundation Trust (MCHFT) fell ‘far short’ of acceptable standards and ‘compounded the grief’ of the dead child’s parents – whom we can only refer to as Mr and Mrs D.

The report adds that the trust ‘prioritised protecting their reputation over learning lessons to improve their antenatal care’, and accused the hospital’s then head of midwifery of being ‘dishonest.’

Mrs D became pregnant in 2008, aged 36. Her pregnancy was designated high-risk by her GP, who referred her to the trust.

She went into labour 13 days after her due date. She telephoned the trust, reporting a discharge of liquid but was not advised to attend hospital.

After a series of visits to the hospital the stillbirth occurred.

Mr and Mrs D escalated their complaints to the Ombudsman in 2010 after being dissatisfied with the findings of the trust’s own serious untoward incident review.

The Ombudsman said: “During their reviews the trust identified several failings in Mrs D’s antenatal care. However, I have found that they subsequently gave Mr and Mrs D information that contradicted their findings and was inaccurate.”

The report added: “It is clear that the head of midwifery made statements to Mr and Mrs D that she knew to be untrue. That was dishonest.”

The Ombudsman’s report said that the trust’s actions ‘fell so far short of the applicable standards that they amounted to maladministration.’

It added that Mr and Mrs D’s ‘grief has been compounded, and they have been left with the sense that, rather than learning lessons to improve antenatal care, the trust have prioritised protecting their reputation.’

A spokesman for MCHFT said the trust had previously apologised to Mr and Mrs D for their failings.

The spokesman added: “Following publication of the final report, the trust apologised again to the family concerned and for any distress caused by its actions.

“Since the incident occurred in 2009, the trust has undertaken a review of the events that took place and implemented an action plan.”

The spokesman continued: “In addition, following the complaint, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) undertook a responsive review into both the maternity services and complaints management at the trust. They reviewed the complaints processes, found them to be robust and made no recommendations.

“Their subsequent review of maternity services in August 2011 found the Trust to be fully compliant with the CQC outcome regarding the care and welfare of patients using the maternity services.”