Previously secret report into scandal hospital reveals safety concerns dating back years

A previously secret report into children’s services at a scandal-hit NHS hospital has revealed concerns over the safety of services including care of seriously ill babies were raised with managers back in 2015.

A report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) raised serious concerns over children’s services at East Kent Hospitals University Trust in 2015 including senior consultants refusing to work beyond 5pm and a shortage of nurses and junior doctors.

It also found the neonatal intensive care unit was being staffed by general paediatric doctors instead of specialist neonatal consultants.

The confidential report was given to The Independent and posted on the trust’s website this week after being mentioned in the terms of reference for an independent inquiry examining dozens of baby deaths at the trust.

It had never been published by the trust, which three years later had its children’s services rated inadequate. A second major report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 2016 highlighted concerns that were not acted on and later featured in the avoidable death of baby Harry Richford, in 2017 which sparked the scandal into dozens more deaths and brain injuries.

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