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Nottingham maternity services ‘failing’ parents

Maternity services are failing parents, according to a coroner.

An inquest into the death of a baby has uncovered “undoubted failings” in post-natal care at Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham.

Although the coroner wasn’t able to determine to what extent the failures contributed to baby Teddy’s death in November 2020, Nottingham Trent Universities Hospital Trust (NUHT) has accepted that there were “systematic failings” and “misunderstandings”.

Sadie Simpson, from our sister company Switalksis Solicitors, who is representing Teddy’s family, said: “The conclusion into Teddy’s death has confirmed that there were undoubtedly failings in Teddy’s care and that the trust accepted that they failed to follow national and trust guidelines.

“There were systematic failings and senior leadership should have ensured guidelines were embedded in practice.

“There were concerns that there was a misunderstanding of the guidelines by the midwives. This misunderstanding had been going on for five years.

“Knowledge of the failings has been devastating for the family.”

In June this year an investigation by Channel 4 found that at least 46 babies had suffered brain damage and 19 were stillborn at Nottingham University Hospitals between 2010 and 2020. There had also been 15 deaths involving mothers and babies.

One parent, whose daughter was stillborn at one of the trust’s hospitals in 2016 called for an independent inquiry as she doesn’t believe the trust is being open or honest.

Sarah Hawkins’ daughter Harriet died before she took her first breath, but it took the trust 159 days to commission an external review into Harriet’s case.

Tracy Taylor, chief executive for the trust apologised to the bereaved families and said that improving maternity services was a top priority for the trust.

Have you been affected?

There are ongoing independent investigations into the trust and we would urge other parents whose babies have died or been injured to make sure their voices are heard. This is the only way that the services can be properly reviewed and these tragic deaths can be investigated fully.

If you would like a no obligation chat with our team, call in confidence 01302 320621.



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Action needed to reduce number of preventable birth injuries

Author: Gail Harris

A recent report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has called for urgent improvements in maternity care reporting as inconsistencies are leaving babies vulnerable.

The report was based on research carried out on more than 2,500 expert assessments that had been prepared following brain injuries, neonatal deaths and stillbirths occurring during full-term labour in 2015.

However, as much as 25 per cent of local reporting was found to be inadequate and some reviews had not even been started. Even more concerning was that some of the incidents had not been investigated at all and where assessments had been carried out, over a third of them had not involved the parents.

John McQuater, partner and head of litigation at Atherton Godfrey, commented: “These findings are very concerning. Investigations must be robust and consistent so that proper conclusions can be drawn about the quality of care that the mothers and babies have received. Involving parents in the reviews is absolutely essential if the findings are to be accurate and meaningful.”

During 2015, of the 723,251 term babies born in the UK, 1136 were injured. This includes 854 severe brain injuries, 156 neonatal deaths and 126 stillborn intrapartum deaths.

The research programme, called “Every Baby Counts” aims, to be a ground breaking long-term inquiry that will help deliver improvements in maternity care. The overall aim of the programme is to halve the number of babies that die or are left severely disabled as a result of preventable incidents during labour, within the next three years.

Following the research an interim report was published in June 2016 that made a number of recommendations on how to ensure a consistent approach was taken to investigating preventable incidents.

The recommendations include introducing mandatory documented evidence of annual training for all staff interpreting continuous cardiotocography (CTG) results, data sharing tools to help easily identify risks and timely and consistent information about risk factors that have been identified.

In addition, the report recommends there must be a senior member of staff who retains an overview of what’s happening in the delivery suite to prevent important details or new information from being overlooked.