Reports of deaths at the north’s hospitals are a major concern for the area’s expectant mothers
A spate of stories focusing on the north’s maternity services are adding up to a worrying trend that needs to be addressed – that’s according to a Blackpool-based medical negligence lawyer who has seen first-hand the devastating impact poor maternity care can have on women and their families.
Diane Rostron, who specialises in birth injuries, said distressing stories of avoidable deaths and investigations into babies dying in hospital were cause for concern among expectant mothers – at the very time they needed reassurance about their and their baby’s safety.
She also pointed to the latest Care Quality Commission report into Blackpool Victoria Hospital, which graded the maternity and gynaecology’s safety record as “requires improvement”.
“Childbirth is an incredibly vulnerable time. It’s a time that families should be able to feel safe in the hands of medical professionals,” she said.
“While hospitals should provide the safest environment for mother and baby during childbirth, for many, the experience has been the complete opposite.”
UK-wide research from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists shows 921 babies suffered a serious injury during birth in 2015, many of which either resulted in death or life-altering injuries. In 665 cases, babies suffered a severe brain injury during birth.
Diane said such statistics are extremely concerning for women and their families, especially when worrying stories are circulating in the media.
That came after a separate report into the deaths of 11 babies and one mother at Furness General Hospital in Barrow. It found regulators took too long to act on concerns about midwives.
She also said high profile arrests – whether charges have resulted or not - were also concerning to families.
The Professional Standards Authority’s Lessons Learned review said the Nursing and Midwifery Council took up to eight years to start fitness-to-practise hearings — leaving midwifes who were later struck off, free to practice.
Avoidable deaths occurred while the NMC was considering the complaints, and the body’s handling of the cases before 2014 was described as “frequently incompetent” by the report.
“Women are being let down by maternity services. The physical injuries and psychological trauma caused by medical negligence devastates lives and all too often, these mistakes are entirely preventable,” said Diane.
More funding and training for midwives, combined with 24 hour consultant presence on delivery units, as well as on-going fitness to practice assessments are required to prevent any further deaths or injuries in maternity units, she added.
If you have been affected by maternity-related medical negligence, contact Diane Rostron’s team at Addies Solicitors on 01253 766 559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free initial consultation.
For further information, visit dianerostron.co.uk