Five pregnant women deaths in 18 months prompt probe

City Hospital, Birmingham Image copyright Google Image caption Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust's maternity units are based at City Hospital

The deaths of five pregnant women in 18 months will be investigated by an NHS trust.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals began an investigation into the deaths, two of which happened in the past four months, the Express & Star reported.

The trust was rated "requires improvement" after its most recent inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in March 2017.

The chief executive said the probe aimed "to learn from these tragedies".

Toby Lewis announced the investigation, which is expected to last two months.

Chief nurse Paula Gardner said she and Mr Lewis would "commission external advice to support the trust and the maternity team to learn for the future" once the investigation was complete.

"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," she said.

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The hospital trust incorporates two main hospital sites: Sandwell General Hospital in West Bromwich and City Hospital in Birmingham, where its main maternity services are based.

The 2017 CQC report rated maternity care at City Hospital as "good", but did report a "never event" - a serious patient safety incident which should not happen if providers follow national guidance - related to a maternity procedure at the trust.

The families of the women are being supported, Mr Lewis said.

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