Lawyers Welcome Steps To Improve Safety At Yorkshire Maternity Wards

The Parents Of Two Babies Who Died Speak To The BBC About Their Ordeal

22.01.2013

A BBC Inside Out special highlighting improvements to some maternity wards in Yorkshire after a ‘worrying trend’ of avoidable infant deaths was today welcomed by leading medical law experts who say it is ‘imperative that lessons learnt are shared across the NHS’.

The programme, which aired on Monday January 22nd, spoke to the devastated parents of two babies who lost their lives due to failings in the care they received under the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust’s in 2007 and 2010 – deaths the Trust later admitted could have been avoided.

Chief Executive Stephen Ewes apologised to those who had suffered and said improvements at the hospitals had since been made. A statement welcomed by lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, the firm instructed by both couples in their battle for answers and justice.

An external review into women’s services in the region carried out by the Care Quality Commission two years ago raised concerns about ‘low staff morale, the rising number of patient complaints and an increase in adverse events’. “The atmosphere was chaotic and the staff appeared to be busy and under stress”, the report revealed.

Rachelle Mahapatra from Irwin Mitchell, who was also interviewed on the documentary, said: “To lose a loved one under any circumstances is heartbreaking, but to lose a baby under wholly avoidable circumstances is simply unimaginable.

“We noticed an increase in complaints about maternity services at Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust from 2007 onwards. Not only stillbirths, but babies injured during delivery and suffering brain damage.

“Needless to say we welcome the steps taken by the Trust to ensure this kind of thing never happens again but it is imperative that any lessons learnt are shared across the NHS so that standards of care are consistently good throughout the country.”