NEW ambulance service family liaison officers will support grieving families and keep them in touch with the investigations after a loved one dies.

The role was described as “Kate’s legacy” by the parents of the baby who died six hours after being born in 2009.

Both Kate and her mother, Rhiannon Davies, were hospitalised after her birth, and a day of chaos and miscommunication added to their suffering.

But Ms Davies and Kate’s father Richard Stanton, from Ludlow, praised the leaders of the West Midlands Ambulance Service for showing compassion and working with them to improve services for bereaved families.

Introducing Ms Davies and Mr Stanton, WMAS chief executive officer Anthony Marsh told ambulance directors: “Ten years ago, we were called to a 999 case that involved Kate and Rhiannon.

“Unfortunately, Kate didn’t make it. We let Kate down, and Richard, Rhiannon, and we remember 10 years ago in deep sorrow.

“We also made a very firm commitment that we will never forget Kate and, as part of that commitment, we will always do everything we can to look at ways to ensure what happened to the family and Kate on that day will never be repeated.”

Ms Davies told the meeting their daughter “deteriorated rapidly” after birth, and was found to be anaemic.

A tribunal later found the midwife didn’t accurately record Kate’s heart rate during labour, did not place her in an incubator when needed and did not provide effective resuscitation.

Kate was airlifted out of Ludlow Hospital.

Ms Davies said: “Resuscitation equipment on the air ambulance was damaged and the ambulance didn’t know where to fly because the helipad at Shrewsbury was closed.”

Kate’s parents didn’t know where their hours-old baby was until a hospital in Birmingham contacted them.

“We got a call from Heartlands hospital, asking if the baby was ours,” Ms Davies said.

“They didn’t even know her name.”

Mr Stanton said: “No-one will ever understand the level of trauma that not being with Kate has caused.”

He said their initial contact with NHS Trusts, including WMAS, inceased their suffering, and they felt the people handling their questions and complaints were “only looking after themselves”.

“However, driven by a desire to honour our daughter, we refused to give up,” he said.

Ms Davies praised the “unique and brilliant” leadership of Mr Marsh and deputy CEO Diane Scott. Mr Stanton said their compassion “helped us overcome our anger towards this trust” and worked with them to improve their handling of newborn patients and the support they give to families in emergencies.

Paramedic Jason Wiles, one of WMAS’ first family liaison officers, told the directors’ meeting: “The key thing, right from the very start, is that we are honest and open.

“One of the things we’ve learned from the other acute trusts is that families get pushed from pillar to post.

“We are a single point, keeping them up to date during the investigation and going back to them after it.”

Mr Marsh said the FLO team was small, and was only going to expand modestly.

“We want them to be specialised individuals who really want to be doing that work,” he added.