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Maternity services at West Suffolk Foundation NHS Trust have been called into question, following a series of damning events in recent months. The concerns pave way to a mounting scope of potential birth injury claims as a result of poor care by the trust.
The first sign of issues at the trust arose when a whistleblowing letter was sent to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), local newspapers and bosses at the trust. The letter detailed how standards of care had fallen sharply and that midwives were under extreme pressure and feeling burnt out. Whilst the letter did not specifically cite any incidents of negligent care, it is known that exhaustion, overtiredness, and short staffing can all contribute to incidents occurring – with devastating impact. It is also probable that the department may experience a surge in birth injury compensation claims as a result.
As a result of the letter, the trust acknowledged that the department was short of midwives, which was also reflected across the NHS as a whole. It also assured people that any issues would be investigated, providing hope that any scope for midwife negligence claims would be minimised.
However, the trust has been dealt a further blow after it was fined for not being open and honest with the family of a patient who had died during childbirth. An investigation found that it was in breech of duty of candour rules and provided unnecessary distress by failing to provide an account of the incident in a timely manner. The trust has provided a statement confirming that internal processes will be reviewed to ensure that no further family suffers as a result, however this is of little compensation to those who were impacted in this incident.
If you have recently given birth, or had your maternity care provided by West Suffolk Foundation NHS Trust, you may have questions about the quality of care provided. Blackwater Law are specialist birth injury solicitors with extensive experience in managing complex birth injury claims including birth injury to mother claims as well as those relating to babies. Call today for free initial advice.