Damning Figures from Review of Maternity Services

Review of Maternity Services
BSC, LLB (Hons) & LPC Sophia Azam
Legally reviewed by: BSC, LLB (Hons) & LPC Sophia Azam In: Medical Negligence

In the last decade, NHS claims nearly doubled with maternity services proving one of the areas with the highest claims. Stories of maternity negligence and news of failing standards have been evermore present in the past year. The first results from the review of maternity services highlight these figures.

The NHS Service had 364 medical negligence claims received last year costing more than £ 3.5 million. This figure is a significant increase from the 191 claims made in 2011/2012. Of these claims, more than three-quarters are for maternity-related damages.

The rise in claims comes as a direct result of the poor state of the NHS maternity services. Departments are dangerously low-staffed, and staff are physically and mentally overstretched. In some hospitals, midwives are having to juggle up to six pregnant women on the ward. This figure used to be that one midwife would be assigned to one patient.

Figures show that there are 4,522 fewer NHS midwives than there were a decade ago. The figure has dropped from 26,208 midwives in 2012 to 21,686 this year.

The average payout for a maternity incident involving cerebral palsy or brain damage is £ 10.2 million this year. This figure is also up from the 2011/2012 figure of £4.3millon.

Our solicitors have observed that the biggest area where errors occur is during childbirth which leaves the baby with brain damage. In the maternity wards, patients are often being forced into vaginal births despite the risks. Often, patients are not being listened to and their concerns are dismissed.

Results of the Review of Maternity Services in Nottingham

After a probe into Nottingham University NHS Trust, it was found that 46 babies suffered brain damage and 19 had been stillborn from 2010 to 2020.

As a result of the negligence found in the Nottingham maternity ward, a review is currently being carried out by Donna Ockenden, Chair of the independent review. The latest figures show that 1266 families have already been contacted by the review team. Of these people, 674 families have given consent to be part of the review. It is expected that in total 1700 family cases will form the largest review of maternity services to ever take place in the UK.

Families that have experienced maternal or neonatal loss, brain injury, stillbirth, or harm to either mother or baby make up most families in the report.

Opting Out of the Review of Maternity Services

To ensure all types of cases are considered, families must explicitly withdraw consent from the maternity services review to not be included.

Ensuring a Representative Sample for the Review of Maternity Services

Unfortunately, the current review has not received as many responses from minority groups. As a result, Donna Ockenden is now keen to ensure the review represents a rich diversity of people in Nottingham. Ms Ockenden has called for a “radical review” of families across all communities. She emphasises that “there is significantly more work to do.”

“Extending the maternity review is a welcome development as Nottingham is one of the largest maternity units in the country and this enquiry’s findings and recommendations need to represent a watershed moment for significant change and improvement in obstetric care, not only here in Nottingham but also across the country.” – Donna Ockenden

Ms Ockenden has confirmed that she intends to improve the way Nottingham University Hospitals communicated with its patients. This includes making sure the hospital has proper translation and interpretation services.

Promising Progress

The efforts being put into the review of maternity services provide encouragement. It is hoped that families from all communities will be properly considered and have their voices heard in the review. It is of utmost importance that these stories are highlighted, to show how detrimental the consequences of medical negligence can be. The review is a step in the right direction, showing that these stories are being taken seriously, and real change can be implemented.

Get in Contact with Our Maternity Negligence Team

Our solicitors can represent families that have been affected by maternity negligence, such as the negligence seen at Nottingham Maternity Services.

Our solicitors are experts in successfully managing medical negligence claims, and helping families and individuals seek compensation for their losses. If you have questions or concerns about your maternity treatment, get in contact with our team.

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