Family involvement is fundamental to our maternity investigations from the very start. We listen to your perception of events, make sure that you understand the scope of the investigation and keep in touch throughout the investigation to share thoughts.
We recognise that this may be a difficult time for you and those close to you. By sharing your experience with us you will inform our investigation and help us to see where improvements can be made for the benefit of others.
You have a choice whether you wish to participate in the investigation process and you can change your mind at any point.
We want and value your consent to undertake an investigation into the care provided. If you do not want to give your consent, or you do not consider you are able to decide currently, please do not hesitate to tell a member of staff. You can change your mind, and either withdraw or confirm your consent at any time.
You can change or reconsider your initial decision at a later date, but to ensure the opportunity for learning isn’t lost for the trust and staff, we ask families to have made a firm decision, provided in writing, within four weeks. If you come back to us after this, we liaise with the trust on how to take this forward, but any delay to commencing an investigation or handover from trust to HSIB (or vice versa) presents complications for the process, and risks reducing the quality of the investigation evidence.
Your investigation team can explain this to you in more detail if you have questions about this aspect of consent.
What to expect
The investigation team will speak to everyone involved. This is usually done through face-to-face interviews. If you would find it easier to be involved in a different way, for example in writing or over the phone, we’ll discuss different options with you, including additional support you may need.
The team includes individuals who are specifically identified and trained to speak with you and your family. You will be given specific details of which member of the investigation team will be your dedicated contact and how you can contact them or get a message to them.
Our investigators work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and will respond to messages within 48 hours during these times. If your named investigator is away for any reason we provide you with an alternative contact.
Our investigators do everything they can to put you at ease during the contact they have with you. They can be flexible on when and where to meet, and will try to make the contact work in a way that is right for you. For example, you might want to nominate another person to speak for you at times if you feel unable to do so yourself.
The investigator will keep you updated throughout the investigation.
When the investigation is finished, the investigator will contact you to share findings, and to get your feedback on the draft report.
Thorough investigations take time. Your investigation team will tell you approximately how long the investigation process might take.
Once the final report is completed you'll receive a copy, which includes all our safety recommendations.
What we need from you
Once you have given us your consent to participate in the investigation, we will ask for your assistance in telling us what has happened, so we have a full understanding of all the facts. We understand it may be a difficult time and we do all we can to support you, and advise you of sources of additional support you could access.
We discuss with you the times and locations that are best for us to contact you.
As the investigators want the investigation to be as thorough as possible, it means there might be a need to speak to you (or a nominated person) on more than one occasion. If your contact details change it’s important the investigators are notified of this change.
Maternity investigation report
The investigation report will include the terms of reference, which will form the focus of the investigation. The terms of reference will be shared with you and you will be able to comment and help develop these if you wish. It will also set out the process of investigation, the evidence gathered and recommendations for improvement both at an organisational and national level. You have the opportunity to read and comment on the report before it’s finalised.
The final reports are anonymised and shared with you, the staff involved and any other relevant organisations. In addition, key areas of learning may be published on the reports and publications page.
We wish to involve families throughout our investigations by using an effective family engagement service. To make sure this works well, we would appreciate hearing about how the investigation process was for you. We will use this feedback to improve the process for families in the future.
All family members are welcome to give feedback, completing more than one questionnaire if needed. Your investigator will give you a paper copy of the questionnaire, or you can complete our online family feedback questionnaire.
Your investigator will invite you to share your feedback when the investigation is complete.
Download this information
This information is available to download in our family information leaflet.
Information for families in other languages and formats
Please speak with your investigator if any of your family requires this information in a different language or format.