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A report by medical negligence solicitors Blackwater Law has revealed that more than 400 Serious Incidents were recorded as maternity-related incidents during the period 1st April 2016 – 31st March 2017.
The data which forms part of a larger report into the occurrence of Serious Incidents across NHS trusts in England and Wales and Welsh health boards shows that from the 96 acute and community health trusts and Welsh health boards that provided a breakdown of Serious Incident type, 439 Serious Incidents were recorded against the category maternity, labour and delivery including neonatal during the one-year period.
A breakdown of category type was not provided by 75 acute and community health trusts or Welsh health boards suggesting the total number of maternity related Serious Incidents may indeed be higher.
Maternity, labour and delivery including neonatal Serious Incidents were the 5th most commonly occurring category of Serious Incident recorded by the 96 trusts and health boards. For details on the other commonly occurring categories of Serious Incidents recorded please see here.
Serious Incidents are adverse events that have a profound impact on patients, carers, NHS staff or NHS organisations. Given the broad scope of events that may result in a Serious Incident occurring, there is no standard list as to what constitutes a Serious Incident however events such as an avoidable or unexpected death or serious injury or an incident leading to widespread public concern about a Trust’s ability to provide an acceptable level of care would generally be considered a Serious Incident.
From the 439 separately recorded Serious Incidents there were over 90 different descriptions of incident type. These included Serious Incidents due to birth injuries as well as unexpected admissions to neonatal intensive care. In addition, a number of Serious Incidents were also recorded due to maternal related incidents such as unexpected maternal transfer to intensive care, injuries sustained during the labour process and in some instances maternal death. Where a Serious Incident has been recorded due to medical negligence, those affected by the incident may wish to pursue a medical negligence claim in order to seek compensation.
Commenting on the research, Partner and Head of Blackwater Law, Jason Brady commented:
“It is particularly concerning to see that more than 5% of the Serious Incidents for which Blackwater Law was provided a category/description related to maternity, labour and delivery including neonatal. Injuries to babies can be catastrophic and significantly life-limiting. Whilst not all of these particular Serious Incidents will involve medical negligence, given the potential implications for the future of that child and the family, the fact some of these incidents may have been avoidable is distressing to say the least.”