into East Kent
Who We Are
NHS England and NHS Improvement appointed Dr Bill Kirkup, Chair of the Independent Investigation into East Kent Maternity Services. He immediately set about establishing the Independent Investigation and initiating engagement with families known to be affected.
He appointed a team, comprising Ann Ridley and Ken Sutton, both of whom have relevant experience to commence work on setting up the Secretariat, ensuring that the Investigation was established, while simultaneously ensuring that it was complying fully with the restrictions necessary to combat Covid-19.
This resulted in conversations with families being conducted by telephone, which in any other circumstances would have been offered ‘face-to-face’. The team remains enormously grateful to the families for their understanding and for the way they were willing to speak with them during this period.
Dr Bill Kirkup CBE
Bill Kirkup’s career can be separated into three parts.
Initially, having worked as a ward orderly, he qualified as a doctor, specialising in obstetrics and gynaecological oncology. Subsequently he switched focus into Public Health and Medical management, initially in the North-East & Yorkshire and then as Associate Chief Medical Officer for England.
He volunteered to work on Public Health and Reconstruction as a civilian alongside military operations in Kosovo (1999), Baghdad and Iraq (2003, 2005) and Afghanistan (2007/08).
Since retiring from Public Health, he has worked mainly on independent investigations, including into Children’s Heart Surgery in Oxford, Jimmy Savile’s involvement at Broadmoor Hospital, Morecambe Bay Maternity Services and Liverpool Community Services.
He also served as a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, responsible for the medical evidence which led to new inquests into the deaths resulting from the disaster – and the Gosport War Memorial Hospital Panel.
More recently, he chaired the investigation into the death of Elizabeth Dixon.
In planning the Independent Investigation into East Kent Maternity Services, the Chair aimed to secure the services of experts, wholly independent now and previously, of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, covering obstetrics, midwifery and neonatology/paediatrics.
Experience also showed that it would need expertise in clinical governance (as well as data/information management). Accordingly, the membership of the Panel will be as follows:
Heather Brown (Obstetrics)
Valerie Clare (Midwifery)
Alison Fuller (Clinical Governance)
Helen Mactier (Neonatology)
Denise McDonagh (Data/Information Management)
Consideration will be given as to whether there is a need for other specialist advisers and further updates will follow accordingly.
How We Operate
Dr Bill Kirkup serves as the appointed Chair of the Independent Investigation into East Kent Maternity Services.
The Investigation Team
The Investigation Team consists of a Chair (Dr Kirkup), supported by The Panel, as well as Investigation support staff, administered by the Secretariat.
We have also appointed Nicky Lyon and James Titcombe as specialist advisers to the Investigation. They will help ensure the right support is available for participating families.