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East Kent hospitals trust pleads guilty to failings in maternity care

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Representatives for East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust pleaded guilty for failing to provide safe care and treatment to a baby boy who sadly died only seven days after his birth. The infant’s death had been found to have been wholly avoidable at an inquest.

The guilty plea was entered at Folkestone Magistrates court in Kent and is the first prosecution under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. Whilst sentencing is due to be heard on 18 June 2021, the District Judge will have the discretion of an unlimited fine.

The independent investigation into East Kent Maternity Services by Dr Bill Kirkup, who led the investigation into serious maternity failings at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS foundation trust, is still ongoing at this stage and its findings are not anticipated until Autumn 2022.

Denise Stephens, medical negligence partner based in Shoosmiths' Thames Valley location, who already has two cases arising from sub-standard maternity care at the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, commented:

“The parents, Tom and Sarah Richford, spent years fighting for answers and campaigning for better maternity safety after the avoidable death of their baby boy. The Trust’s guilty plea reflects the catalogue of indefensible failings in the care that they received and will hopefully lead to better care in not only this Trust, but all maternity units as identified by Donna Ockenden in her recent review of maternity care.”

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