I recently came across “Campaign for Safer Births” an organisation set up by two mothers in memory of their sons, Louie and Harry, both of whom died as a result of negligence during labour.
The Campaign’s mission is to improve NHS Maternity Services in order to reduce the avoidable deaths and injuries of babies and mothers during labour.
They highlight the scale of the problem on their website
http://www.campaignforsaferbirths.co.uk/page1.html, providing the following data:
* Over 500 babies are dying unnecessarily every year in labour or soon after, Perinatal Mortality Report 2009, Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries 2011 & ITV Tonight programme
* The cost of litigation relating to obstetric mistakes was £3.1 billion over 10 years to March 2010. Obstetrics is the highest area of litigation by cost, NHS Litigation Authority Report: Ten Years of Maternity Claims An Analysis of NHS Litigation Authority Data, October 2012
* The UK has very poor stillbirth rates – 33rd out of 35 similar high income countries, V Flenady et al. Stillbirths: the way forward in high-income countries. The Lancet 2011, Vol. 377, Issue 9778, Pages 1703-1717
* Having a baby through the night or at the weekend is associated with a 45% increased risk of neonatal death due to oxygen starvation during the birth. This is thought to be due to poor staffing and junior doctors being left alone, even though 70% of babies are born through the night 38 D Pasupathy, A Wood, J Pell, H Mechan, M Fleming, GCS Smith. Time of birth and risk of neonatal death at term: retrospective cohort study, BMJ 2010
* Overstretched maternity wards having to turn women away – An RCM report found more than half of NHS trusts had to close their door an average of seven times a year, Royal College Midwives: State of Maternity Services Report, 2012
* Lack of Consultant cover –Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) agree that 24/7 consultant cover is required urgently
* Hospitals not consistently following national NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines – procedures and staffing levels
* Midwife numbers not keeping pace with the rising birth rate
* Lack of quality control and monitoring both internally and externally and lack of Coroner involvement – Coroners are involved in all deaths that are sudden, unexpected or due to neglect, except for babies dying at birth. Why?
* Hospitals not disclosing their mistakes and therefore not learning
The facts and statistics speak for themselves. Urgent change is required to reduce our unacceptably high stillbirth and neonatal death rate.
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.