The Avoiding Brain Injury during Child Birth ‘ABC’ Project has been launched with the aim of improving maternity care and prevent brain injuries that have life changing consequences 

Careful monitoring of both mother and baby is an essential to ensuring a safe birth. Whilst many births are effectively monitored, sadly that is not always the case and more can be done to identify and support women, particularly those with higher risk pregnancies.

As clinical negligence solicitors specialising in cerebral palsy and birth injury claims we see the devastating impact that insufficient monitoring or a failure to consider the whole picture (or the whole patient) can have for that child and their family.

As such we are pleased to see that £2 million of dedicated funding has been put in place for the first phase of a programme to improve maternity services and avoid brain injuries in childbirth.

The ABC is project being run by the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, and The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute. Their goal is to help to create an improved approach to the monitoring of babies during labour. The new approach, based around asking the question: is the baby ok? is intended to be more personalised and take a broader view of the baby’s wellbeing, rather than relying on monitoring the fetal heart rate. 

Avoidable newborn brain injury has had a significant impact on NHS finances. For example, though just one in ten claims settled by NHS Resolution in 2018/19 were for maternity cases, they accounted for half of the compensation awarded. The evidence is clear that effective intrapartum fetal surveillance requires a whole systems approach involving the entire maternity team.

This month, those working in maternity care are being invited to complete a brief survey around fetal monitoring to build a consensus for best care. Moreover, women and families, those who are currently working with the college services and those who are previous users, including those who have experienced newborn brain injury, will also be asked about their expectations, particularly in terms of communication.

Find out more about how to support the project and get involved on the Thiscovery platform.

As clinical negligence lawyers we represent families and children who have suffered a brain injury or another life changing injury as a result of failures in the care provided during labour and birth. in these cases making a claim can help to ensure that a child who has suffered a preventable injury can access the care, therapies, equipment and support they may require to assist them throughout their lives. Pursuing a claim may also help to identify lessons that can be learned so that other children do not suffer as a result of similar mistakes. 

If you or a loved one have concerns regarding maternity care provided to you, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free, confidential discussion on 01865 781000 or clinicalnegligence@freeths.co.uk 

Catherine Bell (catherine.bell@freeths.co.uk / 07816 219284) is a Director in the Clinical Negligence team specialising in child and adult brain injuries including birth injuries and cerebral palsy. She is APIL accredited and a member of the specialist AvMA panel.  

The Freeths national clinical negligence department is headed by:

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/London/Bristol/Milton Keynes) - 0186 578 1019 carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent/Birmingham/Manchester/Liverpool) -  0845 274 6830 karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

Jane Williams, Partner (Nottingham/Leicester/Sheffield/Leeds) - 0845 272 5724 jane.williams@freeths.co.uk