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Wales chief executive who quit scandal-hit health board after 27 babies died gets £131,000 pay-off

Allison Williams had been on sick leave before stepping down from the Labour-run NHS in Wales after the maternity scandal

A shamed health boss has been given a £131,000 pay-off despite serious failings over 43 pregnancies in two hospital maternity units – including 27 babies who died.

Chief executive Allison Williams had been on sick leave before stepping down from the Labour-run NHS in Wales after the maternity scandal.

She faced mounting calls to resign after ‘systematic failures’ were uncovered in maternity units at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrsiant and Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

The labour wards at the two hospitals were found to be under ‘extreme pressure’ blamed on staffing problems.

The damning review was ordered after concerns over 22 stillbirths, five neonatal deaths and 16 complications in labour.

The two hospitals were subject to a major independent review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology and the Royal College of Midwives.

Williams faced mounting calls to resign after ‘systematic failures’ were uncovered in units at Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrsiant (shown) and Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil

Pictured is a general view of Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, which was wrapped up in the scandal

Trainee nurse, 31, had to wait nine minutes after her newborn daughter stopped breathing – while another baby boy died of infection

Jessica Western had to wait nine minutes after her daughter Macie stopped breathing shortly after being born.

The trainee nurse, 31, said: ‘It was traumatic. I knew straight away something was wrong with her.

‘Her dad was by the side of me and the only thing I remember saying to him was: ”Joe, there’s something wrong with this baby”.

‘My mum was there with me and all I remember telling them was to get this baby away from me because she wasn’t breathing.

‘Nine minutes was actually when they took her from me and got her help and the crash team came.’

Ms Western, from Treherbert, Rhondda, said Macie died less than a month later having suffered brain damage.

Another mother Monique Aziz, 25, does not know if her son Jesse is one of the cases being examined after he died following an infection in 2016.

Monique Aziz’s baby son died days after leaving hospital

Ms Aziz, from Tonyrefail, South Wales, said: ‘I just want to know if he would have still been here if things had been done differently.’

Ms Aziz had a C-section at 37 weeks after health concerns but was allowed home the day after Jesse was born.

But Jesse fell ill and had to return to hospital – where he died just six days later from an infection.

Ms Western and Ms Aziz both gave birth at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

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It blasted Cwm Taf health board for ‘sub-optimal’ leadership with 11 areas of immediate concern including the lack of availability of a consultant obstetrician and inadequate support for junior doctors.

But it has revealed Williams, who had been in charge of the health board since 2011, had been given a bumper exit package.

It disclosed she had £8,190 for untaken annual leave, an ex-gratia payment of £75,119, a payment of £45,071 in respect of the contractual entitlement to payment in lieu of notice and a contribution towards her legal fees of £3,600.

An investigation by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives unearthed a series of wide-ranging concerns about the two maternity units.

It also found ‘fragmented’ consultant cover and ‘unacceptable’ availability of consultants during out-of-hours cover.

The maternity wards had a high usage of locum staff and a lack of awareness of guidelines and protocols.

Welsh Assembly Health Minister Vaughan Gething called the findings ‘serious and concerning.’

He said they would be ‘difficult and upsetting to read for both families and staff working within the service’.

He said: ‘I would like to start by apologising to the women and families affected by the poor standard of care described.

‘I am determined that the actions I am announcing today will drive the changes necessary to improve maternity services in Cwm Taf.

‘It is vitally important that this work provides reassurance for families currently receiving care in their hospitals.’

The six-figure payout given to Williams – who quit in August last year – by the health board from being widely criticised.

Plaid Cymru health spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said: ‘Plaid Cymru welcomed the resignation of Allison Williams after the scandal emerged at two Cwm Taf health board maternity units.

‘To learn now that she received such a high sum of money as part of her exit package is an insult to the parents who suffered loss at the hands of the health board she fronted.

‘Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board needs to explain why they think it appropriate to provide such a financial reward to their former CEO.

‘We must see more accountability from health board mangers and Welsh Government over decisions such as this.’

A spokesman for the health board said: ‘The terms of the exit package were agreed by the Remuneration and Terms of Service Committee, and where necessary approved by the Welsh Government.’

‘Textbook’ pregnancy led to stillbirth after doctors failed to spot deadly infection

Atlanta Williams was devastated when her baby, Stiles Williams-Herbert, was stillborn despite going through what she believed with a perfectly normal pregnancy. 

After a pregnancy described as ‘textbook’ by doctors, Ms Williams, 20, delivered her son on June 26, 2018. 

Ms Williams, who lives in the small village of Trelewis, Merthyr Tydfil, went into the labour ward on June 25 at Prince Charles Hospital. 

She recalled that the labour was very long and she was being sick – but medics reassured her that it was normal for labour.

Speaking to Wales Online, she said: ‘They just said my illness was just to do with the labour itself and nothing else. I was sent home once at around midnight as I wasn’t progressing as quickly as they’d like.’

But at home, Ms Williams spotted blood in her vomit and was back in hospital four hours after being discharged.   

She returned to the labour ward where she was given pain relief and put in a birthing pool.

But at 4am, things suddenly deteriorated when the baby’s heart rate began to drop.

‘Three minutes later, he was born sleeping,’ Ms Williams said.

‘Initially I didn’t know he had passed away. I went from having a couple of midwives around me to having 12 or 13 doctors rushing around me who worked on him for 25 minutes.

Ms Williams was told she had developed sepsis, caused by an infection, while she and her family demanded to know what had happened.

Initially Ms Williams believed Stiles’ birth had been an unavoidable and tragic accident. But now, she thinks vital information about her own health was hidden from her.

She said: ‘Once I was discharged I asked to be given my notes. In my 39-week appointment with my midwife I found out I had leukocytes in my urine which could be a sign of infection. But nothing was mentioned in my appointment.’

Following an external postmortem of Stiles, it was discovered that the most likely cause of death was an infection of the placenta.

‘I am currently trying to find out why this was not found sooner, and why nothing was done to save my son from this infection,’ Ms Williams said.  

The family were allowed to spend two days with him in hospital to say their goodbyes to Stiles after the birth, but Ms Williams said it was traumatic for her because she was surrounded by the sound of babies being born.

She said: ‘I was on medication, I was on an IV drip and still in shock, so every time I heard a baby cry I thought it was my own.

‘That was horrific. I just wanted to be taken away from the hospital or into a different room.’

Source: | NHS

Source: Sound Health and Lasting Wealth

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