As reported by BBC News, during the period of April – June 2020, there were 40 stillbirths after labour began, compared with only 24 during the same period in 2019. The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch has advised that they will be investigating the reasons for this and they plan to publish their findings in 2021.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have expressed real concern about the figures and are urging women to attend their antenatal appointments.

The president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr Edward Morris, commenting on a survey which reported that 86% of maternity units saw fewer heavily women present with emergency issues during April, suggested that this may have been due to confusion about whether or not these appointments were essential, fear of attending a hospital or not wanting to burden the NHS.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are carrying out their own investigation into the indirect effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on pregnancy outcomes. They are also urging hospitals not to redeploy maternity staff during the second wave.

It is well reported that the Covid-19 pandemic is having an effect on patients’ access to not only maternity care but many other kinds of healthcare services and treatment. There can be no doubt that clinical negligence claims in relation to the difficulties that covid-19 has caused will likely have to be handled differently to cases where the reasons for these difficulties were unrelated to Covid-19. This is because account will inevitably need to be taken of the challenges faced by the NHS and, as a result, careful consideration will likely need to be given to whether or not Covid-19 was a valid reason for the difficulties in accessing these services and treatments.

If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered harm due to an inability to access healthcare services and/or treatment throughout the pandemic, one of our specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to speak with you and advise you as to 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)”