British Infants more likely to die before their first birthday than babies in other economically developed countries

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Clinical Negligence Article

13 May, 2024

Leonie Millard

A Call to Action - British Infants are more likely to die before their first birthday than babies in other economically developed countries the article in the Times suggests.

Sixty five percent of the government budget for clinical negligence claims arises from maternity and neonatal problems. Poor NHS care adds to the rising number of women dying in childbirth.

The first Parliamentary inquiry into birth trauma was launched by Conservative MP, Theo Clarke, who thought she was going to die giving birth in 2022. Women shared experiences of feeling 'treated as an inconvenience' and feeling 'frustrated' with the process to find answers. Amanda Pritchard Chief Executive of NHS England said "treatment of women in the report was not good enough".

The Government and the NHS have committed to producing a strategy for maternity services.

The shocking findings included;

Midwives' 'toxic' working conditions putting babies lives at risk -

Women were reportedly left in their own blood, urine and excrement and made to feel bad whilst at their most vulnerable. This echoes the lack of compassion underlying poor treatment that I find drives women to instruct me in such similar cases. Women are simply not listened to.

New mothers being driven to suicide -

The Inquiry has encouraged women have shared the mental, physical and economic cost of the failings. Clarke said "The raft of recommendations that we make, especially the appointment of a maternity commissioner, are all designed to end the postcode lottery on maternity services." Statistics from The Birth Trauma Association show 20,000 women a year develop post natal post traumatic stress disorder and as many as 200,000 feel traumatised by childbirth and develop PTSD. Common issues include women affected by stillbirth, babies born with birth injuries and women left with permanent incontinency issues often requiring stoma. In the majority of cases this was due to mistakes.

The NHS was designed by men, for men -

Amanda Pritchard, the chief executive of NHS England has confirmed that it is her role to reset that. She has pledged to work with hospitals to create and nurture a culture where women are listened to, their choices respected and care is personalised, equitable and safe.

The report follows reported scandals at Morecambe Bay, East Kent and investigations and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

One in Four mothers are 'scared and alone' whilst giving birth -

The inquiry reveals an ongoing culture of cover up, often only brought to light by whistleblowers.

Women that I work with report not being listened to, being made to feel overanxious, neurotic or a nuisance. Guidelines are not being followed and there is a lack of empathy and access to resource to manage the ill effects of trauma. It adds insult to injury not to be taken seriously.

I look forward to the strategy being revealed to combat and relieve some of the inherent tensions in the system. Amanda Pritchard has said improvements have been made but added; "we know there is more that can be done to prevent and improve support for birth trauma, which is why we are committed to working with the Department of Health and Social Care on a cross Government strategy to build on the NHS 3 year delivery plan for maternity and neonatal services, so that we can continue to make care safer and more personalised for women and babies."

I welcome any such strategy designed to improve the system and eagerly await the roll out.

For more information contact 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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