Record fine for NHS after admitting it failed to care for a woman and baby

John Bennett
John Bennett

Published: February 13th, 2023

7 min read

An article in the Guardian highlights the ongoing issues and problems at some NHS trusts. According to the article, this was the first time a Trust has been prosecuted in the Magistrates court.

Despite having policies and procedures in place, Nottingham University NHS Trust failed to follow them. As a result, Wynter Sophia Andrews died on 15 September 2019, 23 minutes after being born by emergency caesarean section.

The Trust pleaded guilty to two offences of failing to care for both of them.

The Judge commented that the sentence and conviction should send "a clear message to trust managers that they must hold patient safety in the highest regard".

Sophia's mother was in labour and was 4cm dilated on admission. The hospital missed the fact she had high blood pressure and failed to continuously monitor Wynter's heart rate. As a result, they administered diamorphine and failed to arrange an emergency caesarean section.

The trust has apologised and said they were working hard to make improvements.

It's encouraging to hear the trust have accepted there were a number of failings and are getting better at admitting when things do go wrong, adopting a duty of Candour. Tragically these improvements are too late for Wynter's distraught parents.

Here at Forbes Solicitors, we continue to see other trusts making mistakes, causing untold misery to families. Patients are often happy to accept an apology and move on, accepting things can sometimes go wrong. Being open and offering support can be a great help. Unfortunately, we come across circumstances where there has been no explanation of what has gone wrong. Patients are discharged and left to fend for themselves. This often drives them to look at alternatives, including instructing lawyers to investigate whether there is a claim.

The NHS duty of Candour has gone some way to address this. Everyone wants a better and safer NHS. The best policy is to be open and supportive. In the long run it will save costs, time, and effort. We learn from our mistakes and when things go wrong, we should do our best to put them right.

If you, a friend or loved one, have been the unfortunate enough to suffer an injury as a result of a medical mistake it may be worth writing to the organisation setting out your concerns. They should acknowledge your letter within a few weeks and provide you with a full written response a few months later. They may call you in to discuss it face to face. Either way we recommend you ask for a response in writing.

If you feel you have been let down or need some help with recovering any losses arising from a medical mistake, please contact one of the team for some no-win, no fee, no obligation advice.

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