The announcement today that there is to be an investigation into the safety of maternity services in the NHS, is most welcome.
What should be an extremely happy occasion for any family has so often been destroyed by tragedy either in the form of death of the baby shortly after birth, or catastrophic injury to the baby, leading to an extremely difficult and stressful life.
In recent months we have had more clients approach with tragic stories of the maternity care they received at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust. The stories are horrific and painful for us to hear, let alone for them to tell. Mothers who lost their new born babies due to failings in care which appear to result from process-driven maternity units were little consideration was given to individual patient needs is beyond a tragedy for the family. It is also a tragedy for the NHS.
We need to ensure that the investigation is thorough and results in real recommendations which are implemented to ensure that practical and fundamental changes are made to the provision of maternity care.
The problems at Shrewsbury go back to 1998 and we have already had enquiries such as the Morecambe Bay inquiry in 2015. That was five years ago and if nothing has changed as a result of that Inquiry, it leads to the inevitable question of why we are going to the expense of inquiries and investigations, if none of the recommendations are implemented.?
Our client Kamaljit, who lost her baby son in April 2003 following his delivery at Telford hospital said:
“There’s only any point in having an investigation if it results in change. I have to live with the loss of my baby son and I don’t want other families to go through that pain”.
Kashmir Uppal, a partner specialising in medical negligence claims at Shoosmiths said:
“It is all well and good carrying out an investigation if it results in change. I am concerned that we have had several inquiries into medical care, the most recent being the Bishop James inquiry into the Ian Paterson case, where the recommendations have not yet been implemented. I hope this investigation reviews the actions that have been taken and implements further actions to provide safe and effective maternity care”.