Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Claims for Birth Injury

Ten Years of Maternity Claims

A report published on 26 October by the NHS Litigation Authority has concluded that having a baby under the NHS is very safe but more training is required to reduce accidental injuries.

The report, Ten Years of Maternity Claims, An Analysis of NHS Litigation Authority Data, is the result of collaboration of a wide range of healthcare and legal experts, including doctors, midwives and lawyers specialising in maternity claims.

5.5 million babies were born in England during the decade 1 April 200 to 31 March 2010, of these births there were 5,087 maternity claims for injury made against the NHS during the same period.

The report concluded that the claims often resulted from the involvement of junior doctors and inexperienced midwives, who did not have the support of senior clinicians.

The report found that having more senior staff to assist and a multi-disciplinary team was essential for providing safe maternity care.

The Times commenting on the report indicated that claims for poor maternity care causing harm to new born babies and mothers cost the NHS more than £3 billion over the past 10 years.

Apparently one third of money paid out, or yet to be paid out is attributable to cases that resulted in babies having cerebral palsy. There were 542 claims for cerebral palsy with a combined payout of £1.3 billion.

The report considered four key areas in more details these were: antenatal ultrasound investigations; cardiotacograph interpretations, perineal trauma and uterine rupture.

The report found that by pursuing a medical negligence claim the claims management process can contribute to safety awareness and understanding.

A full copy of the report is available on the NHS LA’s website at: www.nhsla.com

If you would like advice in respect of pursuing a birth injury claim please contact Kerry Fifield in our Clinical Negligence Department.