Evidence Of Poor Care And Failure To Investigate Baby Deaths Uncovered
Specialist lawyers have urged a hospital trust to ensure it improves patient safety after an investigation found dozens of babies died or were left brain damaged.
At least 46 babies suffered brain damage and 19 were stillborn at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust’s maternity units between 2010 and 2020, a joint investigation by Channel Four News and The Independent found.
There had also been 15 deaths involving mums and babies.
The investigation said it found evidence of poor maternity care and failures to investigate neonatal deaths. The Trust didn’t properly investigate some deaths for months, and in some instances when it did, reviews contained incorrect detail and were watered down by senior management, The Independent said.
Medical negligence lawyers support families affected by maternity care in Nottingham
Expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have represented and continue to represent families affected by birth injuries at the Trust which runs hospitals including Queens Medical Centre and City Hospital.
They are now calling on the Trust to ensure it upholds its pledge to improve safety.
Irwin Mitchell also represents hundreds of families affected by issues in maternity care. This includes the Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals scandal where the Ockenden review is investigating more than 1,800 incidents of maternity deaths as well as injuries to babies and mums.
Lawyers campaign to improve maternity services
The law firm is campaigning to improve maternity services across the country and has also contributed to the Health Committee’s Maternity Safety Call for Evidence.
Expert Opinion“Yet again worrying issues in maternity care are in the spotlight and understandably families will have a number of concerns about the findings of this investigation.
“Sadly through our work supporting families we’re only too aware of the devastating consequences failings in maternity care can have either through the loss of a child or through life-changing ramifications of birth injury.
“Other maternity scandals including Shrewsbury and Telford, East Kent Hospitals and the concerns recently raised by the Care Quality Commission regarding maternity services in Sheffield indicate what happened in Nottingham isn’t an isolated problem.
“We welcome NUH’S pledge to ensure maternity services are improved but it’s now vital that decisive action is taken to improve services. Patient safety should always be the fundamental priority.
“It’s also essential that families affected by issues in maternity care receive the help and support they require in order to establish answers to their concerns.” Julianne Moore - Partner
CQC identifies Nottingham maternity care harm
Last year health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, identified cases where staff did not monitor the heart rate of babies or misinterpreted readings. This led to cases of babies suffering harm or death, the CQC said.
Between July and September 2020 488 incidents in maternity were recorded at the Trust. Three were classed as severe harm, six as moderate harm and 477 as low or no harm.
However, the CQC said it found a number of incidents had been “inappropriately graded”. These included incidents where mums or babies who required intensive care were labelled as “low harm”. In one case, a woman’s death was classed “low harm”.
Trust pledges to improve maternity services
Following Channel Four News’s and The Independent’s investigation, Tracy Taylor, chief executive of NUH, apologised to families. She added improving maternity services was a “top priority” for the Trust.
Find out more about our expertise in supporting families affected by maternity care issues at our dedicated medical negligence section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.