A welcome change for families suffering with a full term still birth or life changing injuries to babies

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01 December, 2017

Jeremy Hunt has announced a welcome change for families suffering with a full term still birth or life changing injuries to babies who will be offered an independent investigation by a Coroner.

Currently they only look into the death of babies who show signs of life after being born.

This is a move welcomed by Dr Clea Harmer, Chief Executive of Sands, Still Birth and Neonatal Death Charity who said "for too long, parents have not been consulted and lessons have not been learned despite research repeatedly finding that many deaths are preventable and are related to the quality of care mothers and babies receive."

The aim is to provide honest and quick answers from an Independent Investigator and to make sure lessons are learned so no one has to endure the same heartbreak. Parents will have their voices heard.

Measures to be announced on 5th December 2017 will include the pledge to reduce the national pre-term birth rate from 8% to 6%, which would result in 10,000 fewer premature babies per year from 2025.

Making the agenda a high priority should get people talking about the causes of still birth which include placental problems.  There are national guidelines to monitor women with placental abruption, or pre-eclampsia, or pregnancy induced hypertension.

Annually more than 3,000 babies are still born in the UK.  When problems are identified, often   towards the end of pregnancy the baby can be monitored with additional scans or Doppler studies and delivered by caesarean section.

In addition Professor Nicolaides did research into this area and made simple adjustments offering a Doppler scan at 12, 22 and 32 weeks of pregnancy and reduced still births by almost half.

Meanwhile, the NHS England is encouraging Trusts to adopt Growth Assisted Protocol (GAP), which costs 50 pence per pregnancy and works by giving each mother a  customised growth chart developed based on her height, weight at the beginning of pregnancy, ethic origin, how many children she has had.  This allows growth to be plotted.  If growth falls outside the expected norm then extra scans are offered.

For further information please contact solicitor Leonie Millard in our Clinical Negligence department via email or phone on 01254 770517. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Clinical Negligence department here

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