The day a child comes into the world should be the happiest time in a parent’s life. When things go wrong, they can have earth shattering and far-reaching consequences for all involved.

Channel 4 News recently reported that Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust has paid out more than £100 million in damages over the last 10 years after its maternity units were held responsible for dozens of deaths and stillbirths.

Unfortunately concerns over care provided at maternity units within the Trust are ongoing. Basildon Hospital’s maternity unit, run by the Trust was twice rated inadequate in 2020. A report found damningly that the service “did not always have enough staff to keep women safe”.

We ourselves are currently investigating an extremely sad case for a client whose daughter was stillborn at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsfield, also run by Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust. 

 The CQC assessed maternity services at both Basildon Hospital and Broomfield Hospital in December 2021 and concluded that improvement was required.

Of the claims Channel 4 reported “36 related to mothers and children dying, 27 referred to stillbirths and 55 concerned babies born with brain damage or cerebral palsy.” 

For each of those 118 cases it there will be a family who entered the doors of the hospital full of hope for the future, but left having to come to terms with the death of somebody they love, or adjusting to life with and learning how to support a child whose needs and future look significantly different from what they had imagined.

The number of claims and the level of damages paid out by the Trust over the last decade, may indicate a broader cultural or systemic issue. Mistakes have been made, but the ongoing issues suggest that perhaps not enough has been done to learn from errors made and prevent future birthing people and babies being put at risk. 

Regrettably Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust is not alone. Similar concerns have previously been raised regarding maternity other NHS Trusts including in Nottinghamshire, East Kent, and Staffordshire. Behind the worrying headlines and statistics for maternity units in these areas are families grieving and lives changed forever.

At Freeths we help families to investigate the care that they or their loved ones have received and look to hold the NHS accountable where that medical care has been substandard to help prevent others suffering as a result of the same mistakes in future. We have a proven track record of successfully assisting our clients to find answers and obtain compensation. Our specialist clinical negligence solicitors are highly experienced in handling still birth and neonatal death cases and provide vital support to our clients in tragic circumstances. We are also renowned for our expertise in maternity and birth injury claims including both cerebral palsy.

If you have had a poor experience or been affected by sub-standard maternity care at Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust or elsewhere, you are welcome to contact Carolyn Lowe, Partner, on (Carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk / 01865 781019), Catherine Bell, Director, (Catherine.bell@freeths.co.uk / 01865 781140) or Katie Shaw (katie.shaw@freeths.co.uk / 01865 781009) to discuss how we can help and support you.

Alternatively, please feel free to contact the Freeths clinical negligence team on 01865 781000 or email clinicalneligence@freeeths.co.uk .