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Baby in maternity ward - Independent Review of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

An independent review, led by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology and the Royal College of Midwives, into Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board maternity services was published on Tuesday 30th May. The review, ordered by Health Minister Vaughan Gething, followed concerns over the deaths of a number of babies and it makes disturbing reading.

It found that women had ‘distressing experiences and poor care’ and found eleven areas of immediate concern. These included: insufficient midwives who were under extreme pressure; frequently no consultant obstetrician on the labour ward or they were often difficult to contact; staff unaware of the guideline, protocols, triggers and escalations that are in place and a punitive culture where staff felt senior management did not listen to concerns  repeatably raised over a period of time.

A public apology has been issued and the Health Board fully accept the findings.

Sadly many women and babies and their families will have been affected by the failure in services leaving lasting effects on their lives. Graystons can help if you think you have been affected and assist in finding the answers that many of our clients crave when the medical care that they have received was substandard.

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The Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust is no longer going to treat patients from Wales except in emergency or maternity situations. The decision is economical. Welsh patients referred by their GPs come with less funding than English patients. The funding is managed by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and NHS England respectively. Last year 20% of the hospital’s patients were from Wales.

The Countess of Chester is just a few miles from the border of Wales so the decision could affect thousands of Flintshire residents. The fear is that other hospitals along the Welsh border could take a similar stance.

Our concern is that this situation could lead to delays in treatment and an overstretched service in the areas that are adjacent to the English/Welsh border. The extra pressure could lead to an increase in medical accidents and a delay in the diagnosis of serious conditions. Both could have potentially devastating effects on patient’s lives and the outcome of their treatment. If patients feel that they have been affected in this way we encourage them to seek advice. We are clinical negligence specialists and can help.

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It can be an extremely difficult time immediately after you have received treatment which has gone wrong or lost a loved one as a result of medical negligence. Claiming compensation may not be your immediate priority but it is common to want answers about what went wrong and what it will mean for your future.

Often the first step in getting those answers is to make a complaint to the NHS Service Provider. This can be a confusing and drawn out process and the outcome can often be negative and a disappointment, leaving you frustrated and without the answers that you crave.

A negative response is not always the end of the line. You can pursue a claim at the conclusion of or even during the NHS complaints process, provided you are within the time limit for bringing a clinical negligence claim (usually 3 years from the date of the incident or when you became aware or suspected you had been caused damage as a result of substandard treatment). Our specialist clinical negligence lawyers can guide you through the complaints process, review the outcome of your complaint and investigate further to establish whether you have in fact been the victim of medical negligence.

Here at Graystons, we appreciate that the cost of pursuing a claim is a worry, therefore we will also advise you on the range of options available to you, including whether you may be able to fund your claim under a “no win, no fee agreement”.

If you have received an inadequate response to your NHS complaint, contact Graystons for further assistance.