Start your claim

October 26th 2016

Birth Negligence

How have dedicated midwives who bring thousands of babies safely into the world become so undervalued by the NHS?

Dimple Raja

Dimple Raja

Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

How have dedicated midwives who bring thousands of babies safely into the world become so undervalued by the NHS?

By Dimple K Raja, a clinical negligence claims specialist at Hudgell Solicitors who supports families in cases of negligence at birth.

By Dimple K Raja, a clinical negligence claims specialist at Hudgell Solicitors who supports families in cases of negligence at birth.

A recent study of more than 2,700 midwives found that some are working 12 hour shifts with no break. The midwives are worried that the ‘dangerous’ demands placed upon them could lead to tragic mistakes.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) study found that some midwives are looking after up to 15 mothers and babies at a time and the overwhelming workload being placed upon them is a primary reason for many leaving their jobs.

It all made for very sad reading. But for me, perhaps the most telling statement to come out of the research was that some midwives reported not being listened to when they told managers they feared for the safety of mothers and babies.

Other midwives said they experienced bullying from senior staff and of those questioned in the poll, 31 per cent had already left the profession, while 69 per cent intended to leave in the next two years.

This matter is very much close to my heart given my work as a clinical negligence solicitor where I often support families who have lost babies due to negligence during pregnancy and birth.

Midwives are often a pregnant woman’s only contact prior to giving birth. They are dedicated, passionate individuals who have chosen a career path that is hugely important to us all by helping to safely deliver new babies in to the world. The problem is they are being let down by a lack of resource, a lack of training, poor equipment and at times a lack of respect from their own colleagues.

I have handled cases where the concerns of midwives have been ignored by senior doctors who have been proved wrong. Consultant obstetricians and registrars can often be dismissive of a midwife’s opinion on how best to progress a birth and whilst, of course, senior medical staff are there to give their more qualified opinion, I question whether midwives are always given the respect they deserve.

It would certainly be a very dangerous practice to dismiss people who have safely brought many – perhaps hundreds – of new lives into the world and do it every day. I am sure midwives who have experienced this will harbour a strong feeling of resentment, which is completely understandable.

This, combined with a lack of training (a recent survey by the Baby Lifeline charity revealed most trusts commit four or less days to in-house training a year), can only lead to these vital cogs in the maternity process feeling undervalued and perhaps even the potential scapegoats when things go wrong.

It’s no wonder that many have reported feeling depressed and concerned that extreme tiredness might lead to a “tragic mistake”.

Sadly, we see the consequences of such tragic mistakes on a day to day basis in our work.

Mistakes leave children with life-long illnesses, leading to huge compensation settlements to provide suitable care and support, or lead to the loss of life – a devastating event for any family for which no amount of damages can ever suitably compensate.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, said the findings were “saddening, dispiriting and worrying”.

She added that ‘maternity services are performing as well as they are on the backs of the selfless dedication of midwives and other maternity staff, and their capacity to go that extra mile for mothers and babies, day after day.’

I’d completely agree with both statements.

Let’s hope the Government is listening and that something is firstly done to prevent talented and dedicated staff leaving the NHS.

Then let’s do more to encourage young people into the profession and keep them there through training, recognition and respect for the work they do.

What Our Clients Say

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

"Excellent service very professional"

Excellent service very professional. Jane did a great job. Loss of earnings rewarded and compensation for a broken hip due to accident at work. Kept us informed at all times made it easier for us to move on from what was suffered. It was very hard having to accept what…

andreaFebruary 27, 2020

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

"Brillant service"

Brillant service , from start to finish definitely recommend hudgells solicitors all the hard work is done for you wouldn’t hesitate to use them again or recommend them

LeannFebruary 21, 2020

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

"Hudgell Solicitors have given me…"

Hudgell Solicitors have given me outstanding service and support through a difficult time. They have assisted me in claiming compensation which they made the journey of getting it as easy as possible.

KatieFebruary 14, 2020

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

"Couldn't be easier"

Couldn't be easier. From the initial call the whole process was handled smoothly and effortlessly.

Kevin RobertFebruary 14, 2020

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

"Amazing !!"

I felt relaxed through the whole process, i was made to feel confident in winning my case which i would like to add i did 😁 .. the company kept me informed all the way through by emails aswell as telephone calls, i would highly recomend to everyone needing expert…

LesleyFebruary 11, 2020

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

"Really happy with the service I had…"

Really happy with the service I had from Hudgells & Alex was great!

Natalie PayneFebruary 10, 2020

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

"Claim resolved quickly and efficiently"

The lawyer was quick to respond and always kept me updated on progress. Everything was resolved efficiently. I would certainly recommend them to family and friends.

Lulu BFebruary 04, 2020

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

"There when ever I needed to ask a…"

There when ever I needed to ask a question, very informative, brilliant job definitely use them again if I needed too

KatieFebruary 03, 2020

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

"Thank you Sarah Kidd"

Sarah Kidd was fantastic she give me the best advice always keeping me up to date with everything that was going on

Christopher DixonJanuary 31, 2020

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

"It took over 3 years to resolve my case…"

It took over 3 years to resolve my case and Hudgell supported me throughout with great sensitivity and professionalism. My caseworker, Gemma, always kept me updated and was easily reached if l had questions to ask. Can wholeheartedly recommend Hudgell.

Robert WebsterJanuary 31, 2020

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

"Every time I phoned my call was…"

Every time I phoned my call was answered in a polite manner and I got answers to my questions.

KhalidJanuary 30, 2020

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

"Anthony and his team at Hudgell…"

Anthony and his team at Hudgell solicitors are extremely professional and caring People. From the first phone conversation right through to completion i was always kept updated, if i had any concerns and contacted them, they were always happy to listen and put my mind at rest. I would highly…

Mrs lisa martinJanuary 21, 2020

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

"Excellent service"

Great service . Made me feel at ease . Proffesional and very quick to respond to any questions or concerns I would highly reccomend

LesleyJanuary 21, 2020

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

"Excellent service"

Excellent service

JensonJanuary 21, 2020

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

"Excellent service"

Excellent service, Alex Garven was most helpful in dealing with my claim. Many thanks for his hard work in getting a result for me,. It took quite a while but during that time I received regular progress updates and a quick response if I had any queries .

Jill ElliottJanuary 15, 2020

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

"Lauren Dale"

Lauren Dale was so sensitive when dealing with my mums claim and she totally understood what i really wanted from the outcome. she kept me fully informed of everything, as and when it happened. I cannot thank her enough for her help and understanding on such a sensitive case. 5…

Jane from North YorkshieJanuary 11, 2020

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

"Excellent Service"

Excellent, professional and friendly solicitors. It was a very simple process and they kept in constant contact to update me on any developments. Would definitely recommend.

Philippa January 09, 2020

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

"Could not have been simpler or easier"

Could not have been simpler or easier, they did everything required and more. Nice, pleasant to talk to, they do all the leg work, put everything into context and resolve as quick as possible. Hopefully will not have to use again but if a situation arises then would not hesitate…

DarrenJanuary 08, 2020

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

"Very helpful and always kept in touch…"

Very helpful and always kept in touch via email through the while process. Highly recommended

Joseph Conrad Waudby January 07, 2020