It was recently revealed that compensation in excess of £5 million has been paid out in the North-east of Scotland, due to maternity care negligence. In the past decade, NHS Grampian has settled 22 cases of negligence.
The most paid out in a single year was the £4.3 million for two cases in 2008/09. The only year when no compensation was paid out was 2006/07. More recently, 2013/14 saw £23,758 paid out for negligence regarding maternity care. The precise figure for all the compensation paid out was £5,717,147. A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said that they “looked into each claim very carefully”, and that they would pay compensation “if appropriate”.
The NHS Grampian maternity hospital also suffered repeated criticism, after Health Improvement Scotland (HEI) discovered dust and blood in an Aberdeen operating theatre. In all, the maternity hospital was told that it had to improve its standards in three important areas: The protection of sterile equipment when it was stored, the correct assemblage of needle containers, and ensuring that the theatre environment was kept clean.
After the facility was rechecked it was found that there had been improvements, but that equipment still needed to be stored correctly. There were, as a consequence, concerns about contamination and sterile packaging being damaged. At the follow-up check by the HEI in March of this year it was discovered that some sterile equipment had been kept in a disposal room. This was deemed to be “not appropriate” by the HEI inspectors, as a disposal room is a “‘dirty’ area.”
Susan Brimelow, HEI chief inspector, said that there had been two improvements in the three areas, with cleanliness and keeping equipment sterile still being issues that were in need of addressing. Ms. Brimelow added that “We will continue to monitor standards closely.” In a visit by the HEI in 2013 blood had been found on bed rails and mattresses.
Following the criticism, NHS Grampian stated that the findings by the HEI had been digested and addressed. While Dr Roelf Dijkhuizen, NHS Grampian medical director, said that the hospital had been “working hard” to meet the HEI requirements.