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Mothers and babies are being put at risk due to the poor care and lack of improvements at maternity units, a report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found. The report highlights the mounting potential for birth injury compensation claims as a direct result of poor care.
The report comes at a time where a number of NHS Trusts have been downgraded by the CQC due to the poor care they are providing in their maternity wards – as published in our previous articles:
There have also been a number of well published maternity scandals such as Morecambe Bay and Shrewsbury and Telford whereby a number of additional investigations and reports were required to eradicate the issues and ensuring learnings were made to avoid future midwife negligence claims arising due to the poor care being provided.
Whilst the report addresses a number of issues within the maternity departments across England, one worrying theme has been a lack of communication and tension between obstetric doctors and midwives. There was also often a lack of appropriate risk assessment for patients and a failure to listen to the needs of local women. This may result in mothers not receiving the care they need because their immediate needs may not have been identified.
The report also detailed a lack of learning, when things do unfortunately go wrong. This includes poor incident reporting for a multitude of reasons, including a lack of time and resource within the department. Incidents were not always graded to the appropriate category, meaning that the Trust may not have an overall understand as to how serious something may have been.
A key reason for incident reporting is to ensure that lessons can be applied across the NHS Trust and wider, to prevent anything similar happening in the future. It is therefore of vital importance that organisations and their employees are able to accurately report errors when the occur without any pressure or attribution of blame. As well as minimising the scope for future errors, accurate reporting can help mitigate the risk of birth injury claims arising.
It is hoped that the latest report from the CQC will act as a further step in helping to improve the safety and effectiveness of maternity care across England, hopefully reducing the need to consult with a specialist birth injury solicitor.
Find out more about the types of birth injuries to a mother, and birth injuries to a baby that can occur due to medical negligence.