Maternity care in Hertfordshire could have failed, claims a leading nurse at West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals (WHTH) NHS Trust.

St Albans and Harpenden councillors have also had their say on maternity care, and potential improvements to the National Health Service's (NHS) IT systems.

Speaking to a Hertfordshire County Council committee, Mitra Bakhtiari, director of midwifery at WHTH, said: "From a personal perspective, the question we should be asking ourselves is: has what happened at Shrewsbury and Telford happened to us?

“The answer is ‘yes’, if we’re not careful.”

This comment was made in reference to the Ockenden Report - published in March - which identified "patterns of repeated poor care" in the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s maternity services between 2000 and 2019.

The report also called for "meaningful change” throughout England.

Mitra Bakhtiari's comments were made following a report into how Hertfordshire's NHS trusts are responding to the Ockenden's Report's findings.

St Albans Central Cllr Chris White - who quizzed representatives from each trust over how maternity services had reached this point - said: "One could be forgiven for being a bit shocked by some of this.

“What hasn’t been happening is common sense management.”

Improvements to the NHS Trusts' IT systems were also discussed by the committee.

Cllr White continued: "I’m not sure whether PAH (Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow) is still using paper and they’re trying to move to IT, or whether they’ve got past that 1970s ‘thing’.

“I’m not sure we’re moving fast enough on getting rid of paper, and people will die if we don’t get rid of it.”

Meanwhile, Harpenden South West Cllr Teresa Heritage said: "I’ve heard it said the IT systems are clunky.

“NHS systems have been clunky ever since I joined (the) council in 2006.

“There should be one record for each person.

“There shouldn’t be this issue about not knowing what a person is presenting with.

“I find that really quite shocking in this day and age.”

Giuseppe Labriola, of PAH NHS Trust, said a preferred system supplier had been identified, but the new IT system will not be rolled out until 2024.