Unfortunately recent headlines and health and safety reviews bring news of yet more concerns regarding maternity care in England.

More than 1,500 safety recommendations have been made to NHS trusts in the last year after four hundred babies were left brain damaged and a significant number of infants and mothers died.

The review of NHS maternity services took place between April 2020 and March 2021 by the health service’s independent safety watchdog. 760 investigations had been started by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB). This follows the downgrading of multiple hospitals by the Care Quality Commission in recent months amid concerns for the well being of both mothers and babies.

Whilst some of the deaths and life changing injuries took place at maternity units already the subject of previous concerns in Kent, Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire, the figures suggest there are wider issues impacting care at other NHS maternity units across the country. 

Poor communication between staff and ineffective escalation of issues were just two of the errors highlighted within the review to have led to the worryingly high number of deaths and injuries. The review findings largely mirrors issues identified during previous maternity care investigations including those in relation to maternity care scandals in Staffordshire and Kent.  

Whilst we welcome the long term steps being taken by HSIB, NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Maternity Transformation Programme to try to reduce the rate of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries during or soon after birth, it is worrying that the same issues and errors continue are being seen time and time again. 

As clinical negligence lawyers we represent families and children who have suffered life changing injuries or have lost loved ones as a result of failures in medical care during labour and birth. These claims can help to ensure mistakes are not repeated and the compensation secured can enable those effected to access the services they require such as care, therapy and equipment that may assist them during their lives.

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

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