The coroner who presided over the inquest into the death of baby Aisha Cleary in HMP Bronzefield has said he will not be publishing any recommendations relating to the case, despite hearing evidence to inform a ‘Preventing Future Deaths’ report.
In response to this news, Naomi Delap, Director of Birth Companions, said:
“We are deeply disappointed by the coroner’s decision not to make recommendations on preventing future deaths following the inquest into the case of baby Aisha Cleary.
The inquest into Aisha’s tragic death highlighted significant failings across the prison, health and social care systems. Work has been done to improve policy and practice to address those failings. However, despite the best efforts of many, the issues flagged in the five weeks of evidence to the coroner continue to put the lives of pregnant and postnatal women and their babies at risk.
The systems interrogated in this inquest - prison, maternity, and local authority social care services – are in crisis. It is dangerous to assume that promised improvements, and better written policies, can address the deep, systemic issues flagged by Aisha’s death. Fundamental change is needed if we are to prevent the deaths of more women and infants, and this decision from the coroner is a missed opportunity to drive that change. We are not confident that women and babies are safe. There is a real risk that more lives will be lost.
We know that this decision is very difficult for Aisha’s mother and those who care about her, so we would like to share our deepest sympathies with them.”