NHS baby death probes ‘not good enough’

Posted By admin - 4th July 2016

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) recently published their preliminary report reviewing the investigations carried out when a baby dies or is severely brain damaged during labour. 27% of the 204 investigations that were reviewed have been deemed to be of poor quality.

An inquiry has been set up called Each Baby Counts with the aim to halve the number of babies that are left severely disabled or die during labour by 2020.

Statistics released in the report have found that in 2015, out of 800,000 babies born after 37 weeks of pregnancy, in the UK; 655 babies were born with severe brain injuries, 147 of babies died within the first 7 days, and there were 119 stillbirths. In each of these cases, the baby had been healthy prior to the labour.

The vice-president of the RCOG and a consultant obstetrician said “When the outcome for parents is the devastating loss of a baby or a baby born with a severe brain injury, there can be little justification for the poor quality of reviews found. The emotional cost of these events is immeasurable, and each case of disability costs the NHS around £7m in compensation to pay for the complex, lifelong support these children need.”

The acting Chief Executive at the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, Judith Abela, is calling for a more effective review process that involves the parents. Ms Abela said “Parents’ perspective of what happened is critical to understanding how care can be improved, and they must be given the opportunity to be involved, with open, respectful and sensitive support provide throughout.”

The director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, Louise Silverton, is supporting the idea that every investigation should be carried out at the same high standard. Louise said “All healthcare professionals must, of course be rigorous in their practice. However, they are often working in systems that do not support best practice, and the safest and highest quality care as well as they should. Each one of these statistics is a tragic event, and means terrible loss and suffering for the parents. We must do all we can to reduce the chances of these occurring. This report shows that this is not the case and improvements are needed as a matter of urgency.”

Moosa-Duke Solicitors is pleased to see that there are calls to improve the level of investigations that are carried out where a baby dies or is severely brain damaged.

If you believe that you or your child has been failed by the NHS, please contact us for a no obligation discussion on 0116 254 7456 or 0800 852 0010. Alternatively, you can email us on enquiries@moosaduke.com.