01482 778 463
Client Focussed
No Win No Fee
Specialist Legal Teams
Hudgell Solicitors™ | Latest News | Why everyone should welcome plans to make childbirth safer and reduce baby deaths

Why everyone should welcome plans to make childbirth safer and reduce baby deaths

Newborn baby in hospital


Pregnancy and labour can be an extremely difficult time for the parents of babies who unexpectedly die or are left with a severe brain injury.

It is reported there are an estimated 1,000 cases where this happens every year. Every one of those tragedies involves a family that is desperate for answers.

As a specialist supporting mothers who have suffered medical negligence during pregnancy, I was delighted to see Jeremy Hunt announce major Government plans to make childbirth safer.

With an increased caseload of cases of this nature I can only hope that this will go some way to improve the care provided in maternity services.

As part of a package of measures to improve the care of pregnant women, the Health Secretary wants all unexplained cases of potentially avoidable harm or death to be independently investigated by the recently-formed Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch.

At present, it is up to each local hospital trust to investigate cases or for parents to take action themselves by bringing a clinical negligence case, with an average of two claims a week being settled.

Of those cases which involve brain injury, they can cost millions of pounds because of the need for lifetime care to those otherwise healthy babies being negligently harmed.

Mr Hunt hopes his initiative will give parents quick answers and ensure the NHS learn lessons that will prevent future tragedies, which in turn will help to reduce the growing bill for settling clinical negligence claims relating to babies with brain injuries.

As a birth negligence solicitor, I welcome this move and truly believe we need more openness about birth injuries. Doing this will allow health professionals to learn from mistakes, share best practices and help bring an end to what is termed the blame culture where healthcare professionals say they feel worried about legal action and the threat of losing their job.

I also support calls from the Government to change the law to allow coroners to investigate full-term stillbirths – which they cannot do at present.   We learn that some parents have been told that the death of their child has been classified as a stillbirth (a baby born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy) simply to avoid the need for an inquest. This is not satisfactory and only reinforces the cloak of secrecy which surrounds this sensitive issue.

In my experience, some parents are also misled to believe that the baby’s death was by natural cause and could not have been prevented, when sadly, we prove that this is not always the case.

Anything which makes childbirth safer should be applauded

The fact that Mr Hunt wants to halve the overall rate of stillbirths, deaths and brain injuries by 2025 – five years earlier than previously announced – is admirable. The unnecessary loss of one life is one too many.

Unfortunately, the number of babies who die during childbirth in the UK remains significantly higher than in other Western countries. In 2016, there were 3,112 deaths (one in every 224 births) – a figure which is worse than in Germany, Spain, Norway, Denmark and even Croatia, Estonia and Poland.

Shockingly, an in-depth NHS-backed review of deaths in cases where the baby was seemingly healthy when labour began found that improvements in care could have prevented the death in 80% of cases.

To flag up maternity units which are performing poorly, the Health Secretary wants each one to start recording data for the number of babies who suffer brain injuries during birth. Again, this is a step in the right direction that will help to prevent future tragedies.  We would welcome this data to be openly publicised so that expectant parents can also have the knowledge, and possible freedom of choice as to where they bring their child into the world.

Families would welcome a more open approach

When parents turn to myself and the clinical negligence team here at Hudgell Solicitors, they often want answers about why their baby died or was born with serious life-changing injuries.

Often, they have not been told all of the facts and been made aware that, at some stage, something went wrong which had severe consequences. Hopefully, the measures outlined by Mr Hunt will allow hospital trusts to be more open and honest in future.

Until this level of openness exists, solicitors will continue to play a vital role for parents affected by such a challenging time in their life. In my experience, internal investigations often do not delve deep enough into the level of care provided. Sometimes failings and bad practices are only uncovered because legal action has been launched which explores the other potential outcomes had treatment been carried out differently.

Parents have a right to know what happened to their child. At the moment, they often need to make a formal complaint to gain access to all of the facts. When they’re already in a difficult place, it can be difficult to question hospital trusts and managers. By instructing lawyers to act on their behalf, they gain assurance that any possible failings in care will be fully investigated by independently-recognised specialists in the same medical field.

Although the safety of childbirth has improved dramatically in the last 30 years, medical professionals do make mistakes and should be held accountable for their actions. But, just like the proposals outlined by Mr Hunt, the reason for doing this should always be so that valuable lessons are learned to help prevent more unnecessary suffering in future.

If you have been affected by any issues which have been raise in this article, please get in touch and speak to us in confidence.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

*Required

The Author

author image

Nicola Evans

Team Supervisor and Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

ne@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

Request a callback

Request A Callback

I am an existing client.










Or call us FREE on:

01482 778 463


trust pilottrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot star

The data you submit will only be used by Hudgell Solicitors and only for the purpose of dealing with your enquiry.
See full privacy policy.

Looking to see if you're eligible?

Get in touch for free legal advice

0808 159 7699

Call today to speak to an expert

OR
Start your claim

What Our Clients Think

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Caroline was great in handling my case

"Caroline was great in handling my case, very informative and always kept me up to… "

Mr Richard Brook

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Dispute with EasyJet

"Although Hudgell offices were not local to us, there was no need for concern, as… "

Glyn

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Always on the ball

"Always on the ball! Great at what they do, very professional and fast with a… "

CHRISTOPHER CURTIS

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent service

"Excellent service. Very happy with result. Thank you."

Miss Erika Panakova

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Was an easy process and the caseworker…

"Was an easy process and the caseworker was very informative and very knowledgeable on my… "

Rachel Fee

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Lovely business to deal with

"Lovely business to deal with. Would recommend to anyone."

Mrs Kelly Byrnes

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great communication

"Great communication! My solicitor was lovely to deal with, open and listened to me."

Sue Ockendon

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very happy with how they managed my…

"Very happy with how they managed my claim. I would recommend them."

Mr Steve Roberts

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful and truly understanding in…

"Very helpful and truly understanding in a very sensitive case would highly recommend to anyone"

Miss Sarah Morris

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Friendly

"Friendly, supportive and professional, couldn't ask for more."

Mr Adrian Fisher

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

A first class service with a heart too

"I never had claimed before and was quite apprehensive about dealing with claims solicitors as… "

M Sheikh

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

They made me feel that I wouldn’t be on…

"They made me feel that I wouldn’t be on my own after my experience. They… "

Mrs Melinda Diane Tovey

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

The service was excellent and Lauren…

"The service was excellent and Lauren Cartwright kept me well informed and gave good advice… "

Mr Roger Harrison

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Recommended company

"Excellent service, fully recommended. Efficient communication and reliable."

Mr R Taylor

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell took over my road traffic case…

"Hudgell took over my road traffic case from a different solicitors and successfully negotiated a… "

Mr JSW

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell Solicitors made my personal…

"Hudgell Solicitors made my personal injury claim so easy, they got me the treatment i… "

Mr Nick Todd

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I have never used solicitors before

"I have never used solicitors before, my dealings with Hudgell have been excellent I have… "

David Varley

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful

"Very helpful"

Ethan Ferguson

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

First Class service

"Hudgell Solicitors are currently working on my case and I must say so far the… "

Emma Jeeves

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Always kept me up to date on all…

"Always kept me up to date on all correspondence concerning the case and acknowledged any… "

Mrs Anne Marie Wells

Rated 9.4 out of 10 based on 454 reviews

Powered by Trustpilot

Our offices

London

55 Fleet Street
EC4Y 1JU

VIEW DETAILS

Hull

No 2 @ The Dock
46 Humber Street
HU1 1TU

VIEW DETAILS

Leeds

10 Park Place
Leeds
LS1 2RU

VIEW DETAILS

© 2018 Hudgell Solicitors®. All Rights Reserved.

Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90