CQC inspectors found women had been left at risk of harm because of a shortage of midwives, failures to properly assess high-risk pregnancies and failures of staff to use CTG equipment correctly, or even at all. The regulator has taken enforcement action imposing conditions on the Trust and issuing a formal warning notice.

Our Freeths clinical negligence team have had a significant number of women contact us with concerns over care they received. We are acting for a number of clients who have suffered as a result of the Trust’s significant failings in its maternity services, particularly in relation to failures to respond promptly to warning signs that should have been apparent by proper monitoring of the baby’s condition. We support calls for a formal inquiry given the longstanding safety concerns about maternity services which date back to October 2018.

This all follows the highly publicised case of Baby Wynter Andrews, who sadly passed away in September 2019 after suffering long delays in her delivery by caesarean section. At the Coroner’s Inquest, the Coroner was highly critical of what she called an “unsafe culture” in the Nottingham maternity units. She concluded that Baby Wynter died as a result of neglect and unsafe care at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Following CQC visits to Nottingham Trust’s two maternity units a week after the inquest, the inspectors expressed concern that patient safety incidents were being inappropriately and wrongly downgraded, calling into question whether the duty of candour is being applied correctly.

The parents of baby Wynter have repeated their request for a public inquiry following the news of the inadequate CQC rating.  

Chief Executive at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Tracy Taylor, has commented “…the priority of our maternity team is to provide safe care to the families they come into contact with every day but we know we haven’t always got this right, and we are very sorry.”

While the Trust have sought to reassure families that safe care is their priority and they are committed to act upon the recommendations of the CQC, recent history suggests that there are real problems in instigating a change in culture on the ground.

Our experience in acting for parents of children affected is that above all they want to see lessons learnt and put into practice now to prevent any more cases arising.

Jane Williams, Head of Freeths Nottingham Clinical Negligence Team commented, “We have seen a recent increase in enquiries relating to birth injury claims which ties in with the safety concerns about the maternity services here in Nottingham highlighted by the CQC today. We support calls for an inquiry and welcome the steps taken by the Trust to reassure families that patient safety is their priority now but it is key for our clients that lessons are learnt to avoid other families having to suffer.

If you or a loved one have concerns about the maternity care received from one of the Nottingham University Hospital’s maternity units, please contact one of our team for a free, confidential discussion:

Phone Jane Williams on: 0845 272 5724 or email jane.williams@freeths.co.uk 

Alternatively, please contact:

Paul Balen:                0115 936 9388 / paul.balen@freeths.co.uk

Gemma Bedford:     0115 935 0367 / gemma.bedford@freeths.co.uk

Jessica Atkin:            0115 985 3367 / jessica.atkin@freeths.co.uk

Adrian Denton:         0115 985 3335 / adrian.denton@freeths.co.uk

Phillip McGough:      0845 050 3290 / phillip.mcgough@freeths.co.uk