Medical Negligence Lawyers Supporting Families Affected By Care Issues At Trust And Across The Country
Specialist lawyers representing families affected by maternity issues at East Kent Hospitals are calling for “decisive change” following a long-awaited report into care failings.
The full Kirkup review into maternity and neo-natal services at the Trust, which runs hospitals including the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother and William Harvey, has today been published. Up to 200 cases involving mums and babies were examined
Kirkup review finds mums and babies suffered avoidable harm or deaths
It found 97 incidents where mums or babies had died, being injured or had suffered harm and where the outcome could have been different if they had received the care they should have.
Of the 65 stillbirth cases investigated, the outcome could have been different in 45 cases had families received appropriate care, Dr Bill Kirkup CBE, who lead the review, added.
He said that eight times in 10 years the Trust had failed to act on signals around issues in maternity care and had been dismissive.
Medical negligence lawyers supporting families affected by maternity care issues
Expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are representing a number of families affected by care issues at the Trust. These include cases where mums have been injured during childbirth and in one case died afterwards as well as families whose babies have been left severely disabled after suffering birth injuries.
Expert Opinion“The full findings of this report make for stark and harrowing reading. This should have been a joyous time for these families but instead the report lays bare how families were badly let down with devastating consequences.
“The numbers contained in the report aren’t just statistics. Behind each case is a human story of how families have been shattered by medical errors. Many of these avoidable mistakes have led to the deaths of babies or incredibly serious birth injuries, which have left people severely disabled and needing a lifetime of specialist care.
“We can never truly comprehend and understand their suffering, but we do see first hand the devastating impact such failures can have on a family, and use our expertise to try and get answers for families, while supporting them through the process
“That there was a lack of teamwork between medics and a failure of professionalism which saw women treated rudely and without being listened to is concerning. However, what’s particular worrying is that the report found that the Trust failed to act on clear warning signs over a number of years and didn’t acknowledge problems, but instead was concerned about reputation management.
“What happened at East Kent doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident. High profile maternity scandals stretching back almost 20 years from Morecambe Bay to more recent concerns around maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford and at hospitals in Sheffield and Nottingham as well as others, all point to widespread and deep-rooted problems nationally. This is also evidenced in the number of first-hand accounts we hear from families affected by maternity care.
“We anticipate that other families may well have further questions and concerns following publication of this report.
“Today is another dark for maternity safety and particularly the families affected. While nothing can make up for what the families have gone through it needs to be a day which helps lead to decisive and lasting change.
“Too often in the past we’ve seen reviews and investigations into hospital care make recommendations which have taken years to implement, if at all. Many problems have also only been identified after families have taken legal action.
“Transparency is key to upholding public confidence in the health service and where things do go wrong ensuring lessons are learned to improve patient safety for others.
“While sadly it’s too late for the hundreds of people whose lives have been shattered, it’s now time that meaningful action is taken to finally address issues in maternity care.
“We’ll continue to support the families we represent to provide them with the answers and support they deserve. We’ll also continue to campaign for improvements in maternity care, as evidenced in our submission to the Health Committee’s Maternity Safety Call for Evidence.” Anita Jewitt
East Kent Hospitals maternity review
The review was led by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE, who also led the investigation into maternity care at Morecambe Bay. The East Kent review looked into the management, delivery and care provided by the maternity and neonatal services at East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust from 2009 to 2020.
Tracey Fletcher, chief executive of East Kent Hospitals apologised "unreservedly for the harm and suffering that has been experienced by the women and babies" under its care.
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.