Welsh Hospital in Special Measures Following Review – Increase in Stillbirth and Neonatal Death

An independent review of Cwm Taf maternity services describes it as “under extreme pressure and “dysfunctional”.

Special measures have been put in place prompted by concerns over the death of babies. There were 25 reported serious incidents including eight stillbirths and five neonatal deaths between January 2016 and September 2018.

According to the BBC website, the independent review found that the suspicions and concerns raised by women were not taken seriously whilst there was “little evidence of effective clinical leadership at any level”.

“Many women had felt something was wrong with their baby or tried to convey the level of pain they were experiencing but they were ignored or patronised, and no action was taken, with tragic outcomes including stillbirth and neonatal death of their babies,” the report said.

The BBC reported that further cases should be looked at – going back to 2010 – to “determine the extent of the under-reporting” of issues and to provide assurance to the health board. The review found 11 areas of immediate concern at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant and Prince Charles in Merthyr Tydfil, including:

  • Often no consultant obstetrician on the labour ward, and difficult to contact
  • Not enough midwives, putting them under “extreme pressure”
  • Consultants were not always available out of hours – and would take 45 minutes to get in
  • “Fragmented” consultant cover while their roster arrangements were “complex and inflexible”
  • High numbers of locum staff at all levels
  • Staff not aware of guidelines, protocols, triggers and escalations
  • “Punitive culture” within the service and staff felt senior management did not listen to their concerns, which they had “voiced repeatedly over a long period of time”

The reference to the lack of Consultant care was something I discussed earlier today in my previous blog: http://stillbirthclaims.com/giving-birth-at-night-or-during-the-weekend-an-increase-in-stillbirth-and-neo-natal-death-compensation-claims/

There had also been 67 stillbirths going back to 2010 which had not been reported for inclusion in statistics for a national database.

It’s very saddening to read this review but equally, reassuring that safeguards are in place to ensure that concerns are investigated (even if it takes time to get to this point).

What happens going forward for now remains to be seen. I hope the families get the answers to questions they want to know and that going forward, the number of stillborn and neonatal death babies reduces and care to women being of the standard that one would expect in a first world country in the 21st century.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.