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Three Babies Died Due To 'Poor Staff Supervision'

NHS England Has Apologised To The Families Of Those Involved


A report released by NHS England shows that three babies at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria died because of a lack of supervision.

The families of those affected have received an apology since the incidents and executives at the NHS want to do more in order to make sure these kind of situations never take place again.

In one case, a woman named as Mrs M went to give birth in July 2008 but problems during her labour meant she died after birth - despite attempts to resuscitate her. Her son, known as Baby M, also passed away because he was deprived of oxygen.

An NHS England investigation found Midwife A, who was in charge of an inquiry into potential failings in Mrs M's labour, should have identified a number of problems.

Mrs M should have been treated as a high-risk case because she had diabetes and had her labour induced, something that should have resulted in much greater care being taken to ensure both mother and son would be healthy.

Two other similar cases where babies died because of mistakes were also overlooked by midwifery officers and this has led NHS England to post a number of recommendations.

Leaders at the organisation now want the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to be in charge of regulations and investigations when it comes to contentious deaths during childbirth.

It was also outlined that supervision must now become a priority in potentially risky procedures like the one Mrs M went through.

A conclusion in the NHS England report read: "The cases do clearly illuminate a potential muddling of the supervisory and regulatory roles of midwives. We think this exemplifies the weaknesses in the current regulatory arrangements at a local level.

"We recommend that the NMC works together with NHS England and the Department of Health to develop proposals to [implement a number of recommendations]."

The Royal College of Medicine has repeatedly stated not enough midwives are currently employed by the NHS, with some estimates by the organisation putting the shortfall at 5,000.

Expert Opinion
This is sad news to read and for three babies to die because of a lack of supervision is both horrifying and totally unacceptable.

“The majority of staff for the NHS work tirelessly hard to carry out a great service for our country. Sadly there are too many situations, such as this one at Furness General Hospital, that lead to unnecessary deaths.

“Patient safety should never be compromised and immediate and thorough steps need to be taken to reduce the risk of this ever happening again. Failings have been recognised but the important stage now is to put a plan in place to improve services for the future.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner