An investigation into the deaths of five pregnant women has been launched by health chiefs.

The inquiry has been announced by Toby Lewis, chief executive of the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, in a report to board members who met on Thursday, February 7.

The deaths happened over the space of 18 months, with two taking place in the last four months.

In his report Mr Lewis states: "Over the next two months we will also complete exploratory investigative work into five maternal deaths over the past eighteen months.

"This work will frame any external advice we commission to help to understand what we can learn from these tragedies, of which two have occurred over the last four months."

 

He added that the families affected and hospital staff were being provided with support.

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust's main maternity services are based at City Hospital but the report gives no details as to where the deaths occurred.

Chief nurse Paula Gardner said: "It is always very sad when anyone dies in our care and we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of those affected.

"As with all serious incidents, an internal investigation is carried out into why they occurred.

 

"The chief executive and I will then commission external advice to support the trust and the maternity team to learn for the future.

"By being open about what has happened, we believe that local people should retain confidence in the integrity of the organisation's commitment to safety and quality.

"We have also ensured that the families affected and our employees have been given bereavement support following these tragic cases."