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In a recent report published by the CQC, serious concerns have been raised about the progress being made in maternity services, highlighting that this has been “too slow” to ensure all women have access to safe and effective maternity care.

The report recognises that “the death or injury of a new baby or mother is devastating and something that everyone working in the health and care system has a responsibility to do all they can to prevent”, yet despite the greater focus on maternity services in recent times mothers and their babies continue to be at risk of serious injury and death.

With regards to learning from patient safety incidents, the report highlighted that in most services the staff were not always able to recognise what constituted as an incident or knew how to record such events appropriately. There were also issues in terms of capacity and pressures on staff in that the simply did not feel they had the time to report such incidents.

While acknowledging that it is vital that we have a system that is open, and that recognises, investigates, and learns when things go wrong, it is clear our maternity services still have some way to go in order to ensure that families get the truth, and safety continually improves.

Other themes identified to be hindering progression of maternity services included quality of staff training, poor working relationships between obstetric and midwifery teams, and hospital and community-based midwifery teams; a lack of robust assessment and a failure to fully engage with and listen to needs of local women.

Although rare, serious complications and maternity deaths have a long-term and enduring impact on families and their loved ones. The devastation caused in such situations should not be underestimated.

If you believe you have suffered because of negligence during maternity care and would like to discuss whether there are any grounds for a potential medical negligence claim with one of our medical negligence specialists, please contact us on 0151 645 0055.

To read the full report visit Safety, equity and engagement in maternity services | Care Quality Commission (cqc.org.uk)

 

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In January 2021, The Royal Free Hospital in London has been told by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that it must make immediate and significant improvements to its maternity services. This follows concerns regarding the death of a pregnant woman in February 2020.

CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector Hospitals for London, Nigel Acheson, said:

“We inspected the Royal Free Hospital’s maternity services following the death of a pregnant woman in February, as we were not given assurance that the trust had learnt from the incident and introduced systems to keep patients safe.”

Inspectors rated the service inadequate due to reasons such as:

  • There was no clear vision or strategy. Leaders could not give assurance that they understood and managed the priorities and challenges that the service faced. Senior staff did not show sufficient understanding of potential risks and issues.
  • Systems to manage safety incidents were not always reliable or effective.
  • There were no written records to show that the trust had apologised to families and patients when things went wrong.
  • Staff did not always display a good understanding of the people who use their maternity services.

The services are being continually reviewed. Treatment resulting in substandard  care and avoidable injury could mean you have a viable clinical negligence claim and be awarded compensation for the harm caused.

If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered harm because of suspected clinical negligence, one of our specialist clinical negligence lawyers would be happy to speak with you and advise you of your options, including a formal complaint and a legal claim. There is no initial charge for discussing this with us and we will talk you through your options, including how to fund a case and the possibility of a no win no fee arrangement (conditional fee agreement or CFA).

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

A BBC report published today, following consideration of NHS reports has revealed that at least twenty maternity deaths or cases involving serious harm have been linked to North Devon District Hospital.

The report details that a previously unreleased 2017 review raised serious questions about maternity care at the Trust. The report also identified failings in the working relationships within the Maternity Department, finding some midwives were working autonomously and some senior doctors failed to give guidance to junior colleagues.

The report followed a 2013 review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists who investigated 11 serious clinical incidents at the Trust’s Maternity Unit, dating back as far as 2008.

In response, Professor Adrian Harris, Medical Director at North Devon District Hospital set out that sweeping changes within the Trust meant there had “progress” since the report was published and that the unit was “completely different” after recommended reforms had been effected.

If you or a loved one has been affected by medical failures or substandard care, you can contact Graystons for further assistance. We can also advise you on the range of funding options available to you, including whether you may be able to fund any legal action under a “no win, no fee agreement”.

 

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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.