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26 maternity cases at East Kent Hospitals being investigated after death of baby Harry Richford

More than 20 maternity cases at East Kent Hospitals are being investigated in the wake of baby Harry Richford’s inquest, a health minister revealed today.

Nadine Dorries MP was answering a question in the House of Commons from Rosie Duffield, MP for Canterbury.

Harry Richford died from hypoxia
Harry Richford died from hypoxia

The Labour politician had asked whether the government would launch a public inquiry into reports of "preventable" baby deaths at the East Kent Hospitals trust.

The minister replied the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had investigated the trust last week and "will take enforcement action if necessary".

Ms Dorries added: “The Health Services Inspection Board (HSIB) have examined 26 individual maternity cases at the trust and have already reported on 15.”

It is not known whether the 26 cases all relate to the deaths of babies.

Both the CQC and HSIB were asked on Monday by the Department of Health and Social Care to complete their work and report back within 14 days.

Rosie Duffield MP raised her concerns in the House of Commons today
Rosie Duffield MP raised her concerns in the House of Commons today

Speaking afterwards, Ms Duffield said: “This must now be a turning point for standards of maternity services in East Kent.

“As part of my ongoing work representing the concerns constituents have raised with me, I will continue to follow the issue closely and support calls for a public inquiry.”

An inquest on Friday heard the death of a Harry Richford just seven days after his birth at the QEQM hospital in Margate was "wholly avoidable".

The coroner ruled Harry was "failed by the hospital".

His parents are now calling on the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock for an independent investigation or inquiry into maternity services.

Sarah and Tom Richford with Harry before he died
Sarah and Tom Richford with Harry before he died

The East Kent Hospitals trust also manages the William Harvey in Ashford, Buckland Hospital in Dover, the Royal Victoria in Folkestone and the Kent and Canterbury.

Hospital bosses have already apologised to Harry's parents Sarah and Tom and admitted that standards "fell short" before his death.

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