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Health Secretary orders new Nottingham maternity scandal review chair

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid has commissioned a new chair for the Nottingham Maternity Scandal Review, which is examining hundreds of cases of alleged poor care.

In a letter published on Friday evening, Mr Javid said there needed to be ‘urgent’ changes to the way the review was carried out, which included the appointment of former NHS Trust chair Julie Dent, to conduct the review.

The Health Secretary’s letter comes after more than 100 bereaved families called for the review to be reviewed and for the chairman to be replaced by Donna Ockenden who chaired the inquiry into the Shrewsbury maternity hospital scandal.

The Nottingham review, dubbed the ‘independent subject review’, is led by local NHS commissioners and NHS England.

The families told the Health Secretary on April 7 that they had no confidence in the thematic review and called for an independent review to replace it.

In response to a letter from the families, Donna Ockenden said she would be happy to lead the review subject to being interviewed. It is unclear whether the Department of Health and Social Care had contacted Ms Ockenden.

In his letter to the families, Mr Javid said: ‘Following discussions at regional and national level, it is clear that urgent changes to the way the exam is carried out need to be made. A new Chair must lead this review with enough high-level experience to address the concerns and challenges facing Nottingham University Hospitals, to speed up the process and to deliver a review that can bring real change for women and babies in Nottingham.

“It has therefore been agreed that the review will now benefit from enhanced national oversight by NHS England and NHS Improvement and I am pleased to announce that Julie Dent CBE has agreed to take on the role of Chair of this review and she will commence this work with immediate effect.”