Hospital Under Review – Stillbirths and Neonatal Deaths

I’m both sad and frustrated to be sat at my desk writing this blog. Another hospital under review. Another hospital not affording a reasonable standard of care to mothers and babies. Another hospital not meeting national targets.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has received its fourth warning in eight months according to an article recently published in the Daily Mail.

The Care Quality commission (CQC) has issued a section 31 warning which means that the Trust faces closure if changes are not made.

Apparently, the most recent warning concerned a lack of staff in A&E particularly paediatricians.

An independent review is being conducted after 250 cases of poor maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust over the last 20 years. The review started in April 2017 following which many more families came forward over stillbirth, neonatal and child deaths.

It emerged that a failure to properly monitor heart rates played a contributory factor in five deaths whilst another two were found to be suspicious. Legal action taken and Inquests resulted in the finding that seven deaths were avoidable.

An investigation by the Trust found that two babies died from oxygen starvation to the brain ‘contributed to by delay in recognising deterioration in the foetal heart traces and the missed opportunities for earlier delivery’. 

In September 2018 the West Midlands Quality Review Service warned Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust about its lack of trained staff in paediatric resuscitation. 

The report noted that paediatric staff were only available ‘9am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 12 noon to 10pm on Saturdays and Sundays’. 

‘Reviewers considered that a child could arrive and need resuscitation after 10pm and that a member of staff with appropriate competences to lead the resuscitation might not be available.’

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust attribute the lack of available staff due to a strain on the service with a rise in patients. As a result, the Trust has approved spending of over £1 million for additional staffing in an attempt to combat the problem.

I don’t understand how poor care can get so out of hand but looking at the situation with a my positive eyes, I sincerely hope that the extra staff employed will greatly improve the care given and that all those families get the answers that they are striving for.

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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.

Royal Bolton Hospital Reduces stillbirth Rate

It was quite heartwarming to read online recently that the Royal Bolton Hospital have reduced the number of babies who are stillborn.

According to the Bolton News, there are 3.5 stillbirths per 1,000 – down from 12 in January and there were no stillbirths in January this year, compared to 4.3 across the region. The hospital is apparently two years ahead of the national schedule.

The Chairman of the hospital acknowledges that whilst some stillbirths are unpreventable, others are caused by smoking in pregnancy, growth restriction, reduced fetal movement and the monitoring of CTG in pregnancy. On a professional note, I have sadly handled many cases involving the later three causes of stillbirth with monitoring of CTG (primarily lack of or poor interpretation of) being the central allegation in the stillbirth cases that I handle.

To try and reduce their stillbirth rate, the hospital have provided extra training to Midwifes in relation to fetal movements (supporting mums), tested the level of carbon monoxide levels in women, invested in Dawes-Redman CTG monitors to provide enhanced monitoring and they have trained more staff to scan small babies.

Stillbirth (and neonatal death) receives a lot of negative press in the media in relation to our dire statistics and lack of major improvements. In this vein, it really is amazing to see that some Trusts are investing time and resources into reducing the stillbirth rates and ensuring that as few parents as possible experience the gut wrenching pain of losing their much loved and wanted babies.

I just hope that the wonderful achievement of the Royal Bolton Hospital in relation to the reduction of stillbirth rates are mirrored by other hospitals too. Fingers and toes crossed……

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.