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Report into NHS maternity care claims

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Having a baby while in the care of the NHS is very safe, according to a recently published report. However, more training, development and support for clinical staff could help to protect mothers and their babies from accidental injury.

The report published by the NHS Litigation Authority, which manages legal claims made against the NHS in England, examined ten years of claims arising from NHS maternity care.

While 5.5 million babies were born in England during the decade from 1st April 2000 to 31st March 2010, these resulted in 5,087 maternity claims for injury made against the NHS during the same period – less than one claim per 1,000 births. However, because injuries to mothers and their babies can be so serious, it is important that the NHS learns from these claims.

The report found that in the 5,087 cases that resulted in claims, junior doctors and inexperienced midwives were often involved in the management of labour in these cases without adequate assistance from senior clinicians.

Having more senior staff available during labour together with a better understanding among junior staff about when to ask them for help may prevent harm. The report also found that effective multi-disciplinary team working is essential for safe maternity care.


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