Five years later, similar blunders by overworked staff at Kilmarnock’s Crosshouse Hospital led to the death of Fraser and June Morton’s son Lucas during childbirth.
Some believe the deaths and adverse events going back more than a decade are worse than the Mid Staffs scandal in England, which led to a public inquiry, a three year police investigation, two health and safety prosecutions and fines totalling £700,000.
However, detectives probing the events in Ayrshire following a report of multiple deaths by former nurse Rab Wilson did not interview any witnesses or suspects and obtained no independent evidence before passing a “briefing paper” to the Crown Office.
Health secretary Shona Robison (centre) is backing the campaign for a full inquiry
Last night, Ms Pringle said: “I’d like to see a full police investigation and go all the way to a public inquiry.
The government say its not their area to investigate, the NHS say its not them and the police and the Crown Office say its not them either. We need a full reboot of the system.
“How many years has this actually been going on for? The cases uncovered by Rab go back to 2006 but still in 2011 they made the same mistakes. There is a lack of accountability and I think it’s definitely criminal negligence. I brought it to their attention when it happened to my daughter and then four years later it happened to Fraser Morton’s son.
“If it had happened in the private care sector there would be a full investigation and people would be named and shamed in public. Because the NHS in Scotland is unregulated they can do anything they want regardless of how many babies and adults they kill in the process.
I think this is going to end up bigger than Mid Staffs because the problems have repeatedly been swept under the carpet
“For years, the NHS never acknowledged what happened to my daughter.
“I think this is going to end up bigger than Mid Staffs because the problems have repeatedly been swept under the carpet.”
The 26-year-old, from Drongan, Ayrshire, is due to meet Ms Robison to discuss her daughter’s case later this month after two previous meetings were cancelled at short notice.
Meanwhile, Mr Wilson has submitted a hard-hitting statement of evidence to the Holyrood health committee’s inquiry into NHS governance which includes devastating criticism of the health board.
He said: “We as a family believe that their approach in suppressing the number of [Serious Adverse Event Reviews] and replacing their policy with a flawed, rogue and ad-hoc replacement, has effectively negated any opportunity to identify failings and patterns and trends of such failings, and therefore increased the risk to patients whilst also effectively muting any opportunity to implement remedial action and positive change.
Rebecca was left severely disabled after being starved of oxygen at birth
“Allied to underfunding, understaffing and deficiencies in workforce planning and training, we firmly believe that this approach was a significant factor in the death of our son Lucas and undoubtedly others. This is not confined to the maternity unit.”
He concludes by calling for a public inquiry to “provide assurance, transparency and restore the trust of the people of Ayrshire and Arran” and the creation of a new independent regulator to replace Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
Meanwhile, campaigners want to meet the top men in Scotland’s justice system to discuss the “failure to investigate” avoidable deaths at the troubled health board.
Roger Livermore and Rab Wilson from the Action for a Safe and Accountable People’s NHS (ASAP-NHS) group are to write to Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC urging him to take action.
They will also contact Justice Secretary Michael Matheson about the “most serious matters of public safety and justice system failings within your remit”.
Last week, this newspaper revealed the police watchdog had lifted the lid on Police Scotland’s investigation into 56 critical incidents within NHS Ayrshire and Arran involving at least 40 deaths.
Former nurse Mr Wilson reported his allegations to detectives in April 2013, suggesting the health board be prosecuted for criminal negligence as deadly mistakes had been covered up by bosses.
Six months later a file was sent to the Crown Office, which was also shared with the Health and Safety Executive, with prosecutors ruling that no further action be taken.
Last year, after further evidence came to light, Mr Wilson complained about the police investigation before asking the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) to review the force’s handling of his complaint.
The commissioner, Kate Frame, upheld five of his six points and wrote: “It is recommended a further response be sent to the applicant explaining precisely why Police Scotland did not deem it necessary to investigate or seek to obtain any ‘independent evidence’ before referring the matter to COPFS.
“The response should specifically address why no interviews were conducted by Police Scotland with potential suspects or witnesses in connection with the applicant’s allegations and why no inquiry appears to have been carried out in relation to the applicant’s concern about the retrospective production of documents.”
Although PIRC did not review the original police investigation, it did instruct the force to provide Mr Wilson with a further explanation.
He has also asked for an unreserved apology and a meeting with Chief Constable Phil Gormley.
The ASAP-NHS letter to the Lord Advocate describes the failure to bring charges against the health board as “the worst known scandal in UK policing” and claims it “gave the green-light to a large number of similar deaths across all of NHS Scotland”.
It concludes: “For reasons of effectiveness and efficiency on what it is an issue of the greatest importance, it should be obvious that it would be best if you and ASAP-NHS met.
A former nurse has asked for a meeting with Chief Constable Phil Gormley
“We would be pleased to do so and assist in resolving what is an extremely serious matter. The current situation is most certainly not tenable either in terms of law or public safety.”
The letter to Mr Matheson adds: “The Chief Constable has repeatedly refused to act on the absence of anything which could be seriously considered to be an investigation into these deaths and offences let alone a competent one.
“He has still not provided an apology for the gross errors of the forces that permit more deaths and obstruct justice.
The crisis in Police Scotland seems to be accelerating, and the public are suffering.
“The original errors were compounded by those of the COPFS, the previous Lord Advocate (Frank Mulholland), and the HSE. They all said that there was no evidence of criminality when there had been no criminal law investigation.”
The Crown Office declined to comment, although a Scottish Government spokeswoman said:”We will review the correspondence from ASAP NHS once received.
“Police Scotland have confirmed that they are considering the recommendations in the PIRC report and will take appropriate action.”