OAA response to Ockenden Report

The OAA welcomes the publication of the Ockenden Report describing findings and recommendations from the Independent Review of Maternity Services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. The Report highlights that obstetric anaesthetists are an integral part of the maternity team and make a crucial contribution to safety on the labour ward. The Report makes several recommendations based on existing national guidelines, including:
• Ensuring strategies are undertaken to minimise the hypertensive response to laryngoscopy during caesarean section under general anaesthesia in women with preeclampsia.
• Maintaining fetal monitoring during the provision of neuraxial anaesthesia, particularly where there are pre-existing concerns about fetal wellbeing.
• Early escalation to, and involvement of, senior anaesthetists where concerns exist about a woman's condition, including out of hours care.
• Appropriate senior involvement in supporting and guiding management of anaesthetic related morbidity, e.g., post-dural puncture headache.
• Ensuring Consultant Anaesthetist representation during incident investigation and multidisciplinary team meetings after significant incidents.
• Ensuring Consultant Anaesthetist involvement in service development and quality improvement in the maternity unit.

We recognise that there may be some maternity units where the inclusion of anaesthetists as part of the multidisciplinary team is not the default position. We hope that the Ockenden Report serves as a catalyst for change in ensuring the contribution of obstetric anaesthetists to safety developments in the maternity unit.

The OAA and its officers wish to offer our condolences and sympathy to all the families that have been affected and would wish to pay tribute to those that have persevered in bringing these tragedies to light.

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