A recent report by the National Audit Office has uncovered a number of facts about NHS maternity services in England

The most concerning fact is that 1 in every 133 babies born die within days of birth or are still born. Although this figure has reduced from previous years it is higher than other areas of the UK.

The cost to NHS England for maternity services insurance cover, to defend medical negligence claims, was £482m in the previous year, which equates to £700 for each live birth. However, the previous ten years has seen the damages awarded for maternity based negligence cases average £300m per year.

The report highlights the differences in the quality of care from trust to trust and overall staffing shortages. These have a direct impact on the incidences of negligence, not just with injuries to baby suc
h as cerebral palsy and erb’s palsy, but also those which affect mum like peritoneal tears.

Increasing the number of trained maternity staff within the NHS and other recommendations made by the NAO will surely improve the experience for the new parents, reduce insurance costs, reduce the number of medical negligence claims and most importantly reduce infant mortality and injury rates.

Let us hope that the NHS management look to implement the Audit’s reforms as soon as possible. However it still may not stave off the media feeding frenzy which is always eager to blame lawyers for the perpetuation of the problem rather than see a solution in front of them.



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