On 13 February 2020 I confirmed in Parliament that, following concerns raised about the quality and outcomes of maternity and neonatal care, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) have commissioned Dr Bill Kirkup CBE to undertake an independent review into maternity and neonatal services at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (the trust).
The review will be known as the “Independent Investigation into East Kent Maternity Services” (the independent investigation).
We take the patient safety concerns at East Kent maternity services very seriously. The independent investigation will provide an independent assessment of what has happened with East Kent Maternity and Neonatal Services and identify lessons and conclusions.
The terms of reference have been finalised now the views of the families affected have been taken into account and are published today on the independent investigation (Independent Investigation into East Kent Maternity Services: https://iiekms.org.uk/) and NHSE website (www. england.nhs.uk/publication/independent-investigation-into-east-kent-maternity-services-terms-of-reference). The terms of reference include the scope and arrangements that are to be put in place to support its functions and confirm the independent investigation will examine maternity and neonatal services in East Kent, in the period since 2009, when the trust came into being, until 2020. The terms of reference include the scope and arrangements that are to be put in place and confirm the independent investigation will examine maternity and neonatal services in East Kent, in the period since 2009, when the trust came into being, until 2020.
The independent investigation will draw conclusions as to the adequacy of the actions taken at the time by the trust and the wider system and will produce a report to be disclosed first to the affected families and then to NHSEI as the commissioning organisation, and then to the Department of Health and Social Care prior to publication.
The work of the independent investigation is expected to complete by the autumn of 2022 and arrangements will be made for the final report to be presented to the Secretary of State; Ministers will subsequently publish the report to Parliament, and a response will be provided in due course.
A copy of the terms of reference will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.