There can be no excuses
When the final Ockenden report (2022) was published on 30 March this year, the same day also saw a report disclosing that satisfaction with the NHS had dropped to a 25-year low (Wellings et al, 2022). Satisfaction with the NHS, overall, fell to 36% – an astonishing 17 percentage point decrease on 2020. This is the lowest level of satisfaction recorded since 1997, when satisfaction fell to 34%. More people (41%) were dissatisfied with the NHS than satisfied (Wellings et al, 2022). Key reasons for this dissatisfaction were waiting times for GP and hospital appointments (65%), followed by staff shortages (46%) and a view that the government does not spend enough money on the NHS (40%).
The scale of the Ockenden review is unprecedented in the history of the NHS. The report makes clear that there can be no excuses for the incidents that have happened in what has become known as the Shropshire maternity scandal. This review has to signal a turning point for all those who offer maternity services. The actions recommended must be acted upon with speed.
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