Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services.
On 30 April 2019 I published the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives report following their review of maternity services at the former Cwm Taf University Health Board. One of my immediate actions was the establishment of an Independent Maternity Services Oversight Panel.
It is intended that this panel will:
- seek robust assurance from the health board that the report recommendations are being implemented against agreed milestones
- agree a process and establish an independent multidisciplinary clinical review of the original cases identified during the College’s review and a look back exercise to 2010, as recommended by the review
- advise CTMUHB on actions needed for effective public and user engagement in improving maternity services and rebuilding trust and confidence, and
- advise me on progress, including the need for and timing of any follow up review.
I want the women and families of Cwm Taf to be fully involved in working with the panel to ensure their voices are heard and to direct the improvements needed. I have invited families to review and comment on the draft Terms of Reference to ensure the oversight work reflects what they feel it should be doing. The formal Terms of Reference will be published following this consultation period.
As I detailed in my previous statement, I have appointed Mick Giannasi to chair the panel. Mick has extensive experience across public services, he is a former chair of the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Commissioner for Anglesey Council and Chief Constable of Gwent Police. Mick will be supported by a Lay Panel member and senior midwifery and obstetric leads (none of whom have previously worked within NHS Wales). Further specialist clinical and expert support will be sought as required to assist the Panel in achieving its main strategic aim of ensuring the sustainable provision of safe, high-quality maternity services for the women and families of Cwm Taf.
Cath Broderick, the author of the women and families report, will continue to engage with families as the Lay Panel member. Cath is an independent consultant with extensive experience in patient and public engagement. Cath is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, she was Chair of their Women's Network from 2011-2015 and is currently Chair of their Equality and Diversity Committee. Cath’s role will be key in ensuring that the Oversight Panel, the Health Board and Welsh Government engage with families in ways that meet their personal preferences and wishes.
Today, I am pleased to announce that the midwifery and obstetric leads have now been appointed. Mick and Cath will be joined by senior midwife Christine Bell and experienced obstetrician Professor Alan Cameron. Christine is a retired Divisional Director of Women’s and Children’s Services in an acute NHS Trust. Christine has been a midwife for over 30 years. She is a designated Midwifery Assessor with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and has worked for the Care Quality Commission as a Specialist Advisor. Christine’s experience from her previous roles, including Head of Midwifery, will bring specialist clinical and managerial expertise to the panel.
The obstetric lead, Professor Alan Cameron, has 26 years’ experience as a Consultant Obstetrician. Alan has recently been appointed as the National Clinical Lead in Obstetrics and Gynaecology for the Scottish Maternity and Children Quality Improvement Collaborative (MCQIC). He has also served as Vice President for Clinical Quality in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Alan’s extensive experience in both medical practice and research will provide specialist oversight to the panel.
Mick and Cath have already commenced in their roles and the full panel will hold its first meeting next week. I would like to thank all the panel members for their flexibility and proactive approach to undertake this vitally important oversight work. The panel will make quarterly reports available to assure patients and families of the action being undertaken. I will publish these.
I am confident that the panel I have appointed will ensure that the recommendations of the review team are implemented with pace and rigour. Everyone should have a positive experience of NHS services during pregnancy and childbirth and I am pleased that the panel is already progressing in its planning on how they are going to support this. I am determined to ensure that the joyous celebration of new life is experienced by all possible women and families using NHS Wales’ maternity services, and that the things that should not have gone wrong are put right.