It is really important to us that Harry's death and the huge sacrifices made by Sarah, Tom and the wider family have led to long term change all over the NHS. Here we want to highlight key things that we believe would not have happened if Harry had not been born and the family hadn't demanded the truth.
In his 7 days on this planet, Harry has changed the world of maternity care here in East Kent and the wider NHS in a really positive way.
East Kent has turned into the 2nd biggest maternity scandal in UK history with Shrewsbury and Telford being the first (see Donna Ockenden's inquiry page - http://www.donnaockenden.com/the-ockenden-review-sath/). Without our Harry, these gross failings and cover ups would have continued as they had before. There will be families who we have helped who will never know that they could have been a victim of these issues.
The Kirkup Inquiry. The Kirkup team will report by Autumn 2022 and will, we have no doubt, make the most disturbing findings of poor practice and cover up in maternity services. Once these gross failings are exposed to public and media scrutiny the East Kent Hospitals Trust can never go back to what it was.
CQC Criminal Prosecution. The first ever criminal prosecution of an NHS Trust for unsafe care and treatment in a clinical sense will, we feel sure be a mark for this Trust and the entire NHS that such appalling care will not be tolerated again. On April 19th 2021 the Trust entered a plea of guilty for unsafe care and treatment of Sarah and Harry. We hope this will mean that other Trusts will look VERY closely before allowing maternity services to deteriorate so badly.
RCOG Locum Passport. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have carried out a major work stream on locum employment and have confirmed that Harry's Inquest was a key driver in this work. The initial policy work is HERE and in due course details of the "Locum Passport" will be published that will give policy on locum experience and supervision.
Panorama. We were able to tell Harry's story on BBC's highly influential Panorama. Being able to show the circumstances surrounding Harry's birth and death on this platform has helped to ensure that Maternity services, not only East Kent but the wider NHS are front of mind for government and NHS leaders. Link to Panorama
Harry's Law. We are calling for Harry's Law. This new law would require that all Royal College reports are published to the regulator on the same day they are published to the Trust. 90 days later, these reports must then be made public for scrutiny by the public and media. We have made good progress and look forward to a parliamentary announcement in due course.
Baby Death Reduction. Since Harry's inquest and the furore that followed when an expert maternity team were sent to the Trust, Neonatal deaths have fallen by 55% compared to the previous 7 year average and still births by 20% (see table at the base of this page). This demonstrates clearly how, with the correct focus, leadership and procedures lives can be saved. Had the Trust followed the RCOG audit diligently in early 2016 over 40 babies lives could have been saved in the first 4 years and we include Harry in this figure.
Patient Safety Congress. Harry's grandad was invited to speak alongside Donna Ockenden and Sarah-Jane Marsh (NHSE) at the 2021 Patient Safety Congress in Manchester. He was able to tell the family's story to around 1,000 delegates which consisted of senior managers and Patient Safety Champions as well as other influential roles within patient safety and investigations in Trusts. It is hoped that the telling of Harry's Story will be heard and relayed back to Trusts in order aid learning. The key message was "Denial is the key factor in the failure to learn".
PHSO Complaint Handling. Harry's story has led to a great deal of reflection within the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman service, regarding how they deal with complaints of this nature. Harry's grandfather was able to speak directly to the Ombudsman, Rob Behrens CBE to describe how PHSO and others had failed our family. This should lead to important changes and improvements. You can hear the interview HERE
CQC Inspections. After we forced Harry's story into the spotlight, the CQC have put a new emphasis on maternity department inspections. In one case in June 2021 it was announced that a Trust in the Shelford Group had, following an unannounced inspection, been moved from Outstanding to Inadequate. In another in Colchester another "Inadequate" rating has been reported. This new emphasis will make maternity services safer for all. CQC Briefing Here
National Influence - Harry's Grandfather Derek was put into the 2021 Heath Service Journal top 100 people who should be influencing the NHS. His campaign in Harry's name has had far reaching influence and he was nominated in the 20 "wildcards". https://www.hsj.co.uk/hsj100-the-wildcards/7030328.article
Derek Richford, grandfather and campaigner
Several people commented that NHS chief executives need to hear from harmed patients and families: Mr Richford has an extraordinary tale to tell of how his forensic attempts to find out why his grandson died a week after his traumatic birth led to the uncovering of massive failings in maternity services in East Kent. Regulators and commissioners seemed largely unaware of this, and it is only through Mr Richford’s efforts that there has been a court case and an ongoing independent investigation. The difficulty of getting to the truth was only matched by the grief suffered by his family.