Could inconsistencies in midwife training be contributing to an increase in maternity compensation claims?

By Blackwater Law

Research conducted by one of the UK’s leading maternity charities has unearthed an alarming degree of regional inconsistency in the way our midwives are trained.

  • Data obtained from NHS trusts across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland indicates that key skills and competencies are not being taught.
  • The resulting skills gaps in some of our regions means mothers and babies may seek midwife negligence compensation, should they suffer adversely as a result.
  • Maternity compensation claims could be set to rise as a result.

The pandemic’s negative impact on midwife training standards across the UK

A report delivered by Baby Lifeline, which focuses on the care and wellbeing of pregnant women and babies, indicates the pandemic as having heaped more pressure on a system which was already underfunded and understaffed.

The charity’s research showed that less training was provided from 2020-2021 relative to previous years. Funding spent on training has also fallen by almost 50% since 2017-2018.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists observed that even prior to the onset of COVID-19 in the UK, medical units across the nation were subject to staff shortages, and a significant proportion of those in training were considering leaving.

Through 2021, data provided by the Royal College of Midwives shows that half of staff surveyed planned to leave the NHS within a year. Dissatisfaction with the level of care they felt they could provide for patients was commonly listed as one of the major reasons for doing so.

The report also indicates that the pandemic has had a detrimental impact on training for maternity units. Increased patient volumes and social distancing requirements meant there were fewer opportunities for training facilitators to interact with medical professionals.

Whilst significant efforts were made to deliver training online, interactive team exercises remained difficult to facilitate and the standard of training suffered as a result. 97% of medical training providers identified barriers to learning provision through the pandemic, with poor IT infrastructure listed as one of the most common problems.

With virtually no maternity units across the UK unaffected by the pandemic and the associated difficulties in providing quality training for midwives, thousands may not possess the skills they need to deliver quality care. When mistakes are made a result, families may be forced to rely on maternity claims.

Vital training missed in the majority of UK maternity units

Mortality reports examined in the research indicate that heart disease is the leading killer in pregnant UK mothers, followed by epilepsy and stroke. Despite this, only 29% of medical organisations examined offered training in the management of heart conditions, and only 9% trained staff in how to treat epilepsy and stroke.

The researchers also found that key training guidance issued to help reduce the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths was being delivered by fewer than one in four UK health institutions. This means there may be an increased number of birth injury claims as a result, should negligence occur.

Seeking compensation for poor maternity care

If you or a family member has suffered a result of substandard maternity care, you could be entitled to make a medical negligence compensation claim. Blackwater Law are specialist birth injury solicitors and may be able to assist if you or a loved one has suffered adversely due to medical negligence.

Get Expert Legal Advice

Call today and speak to Jason Brady, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500