The BBC’s Panorama programme 'Maternity Scandal: Fighting for the Truth' was very distressing to watch, as it detailed the avoidable deaths of mothers and babies in Shropshire. Bereaved parents talked about their horrendous experiences and their long battles to uncover the truth.

This powerful programme reinforced the importance of the key message from the families and an interim review: to listen to the mothers. 

That certainly resonates with my experience as a clinical negligence solicitor, hearing mothers describe being patronised and ignored when they've asked for a caesarian birth or expressed their worries about a change in their baby's movements in the womb. Of course, very few parents need to instruct lawyers, so my clients are not typical patients. However, their experiences are not unusual and cannot be put down to a few 'bad apples'.  

A lot of midwives and doctors do their very best in difficult circumstances, despite inadequate resources and insufficient staff, but there is action that can and should be taken to address systemic problems.

This week's Panorama programme finally gave those parents a public voice. The public will now be eagerly awaiting the full Ockendon Report, due in March, setting out the findings and the steps for all NHS maternity services to take to prevent further tragedies. It's fully expected the emphasis will be on hearing the voices of mothers.