Contact one of our advisors now Call 0800 088 6004

Shropshire Maternity Units – Potentially UK’s Biggest Ever Maternity Scandal

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

NHS Resolution act on behalf of the NHS and deal directly with compensation claims.

NHS reported the number of maternity claims increased from 391 in 2009 to 765 in 2019-2020. Between this period, it is reported there has been 6914 successful claims relating to poor maternity care.

Furthermore, data also reveals that the failures in maternity care over the past ten years have left more than 1200 children permanently brain damaged and has cost them more than £4billion in compensation claims.

The Shrewsbury Scandal being the largest maternity scandal to date dealt with more than 1860 cases of childbirth. This was a direct response to the babies and mothers who had died or left brain damaged as a result of poor care. (See below – “Leaked report regarding level of deaths and concerns about maternity units in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust” )

With birth injury cases where an error has been made by a medical profession, this will usually mean the value of the case is usually in its millions as the child is left with severe disabilities meaning they are unable to work and require round the clock care for the rest of their lives.

It is clear that more investment is required. NHS England has acknowledged this in 2021, and the Government announced that it will be investing £100million to improve maternity services with money for 1,000 extra midwives, 80 consultants and a maternity training fund.

Furthermore, recommendations from the National Maternity Review from the NHS are being implemented through local maternity systems. The aim of this to ensure women and their families receive seamless care during maternity and neonatal services.

It is clear, that the most costly and complicated claims made to the NHS include those of childbirth. This is not only an undesirable outcome for the NHS, but also for the families left to deal with the trauma.

More here: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/shewsbury-care-maternity-nhs-b1822260.html

Leaked report regarding level of deaths and concerns about maternity units in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust

There has been an enquiry into the high level of deaths and concerns about maternity units in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust. The first report from that enquiry has been leaked and it has revealed that there have been major problems that have led to deaths of babies and mothers and also catastrophic injuries to some babies.

Jeremy Hunt, when he was the Health Secretary, ordered the enquiry in 2017 and it is only in the last couple of weeks that the first report has been leaked and we have seen various reports in the press and on the news. The enquiry has been led by a maternity expert Donna Ockenden.

Whilst there is no official report yet the conclusions of the interim report that have been leaked warn that this could be the worst ever maternity scandal.

Some of the failings identified so far are:-

• Not monitoring heart rates during labour resulting in deaths of some babies.

• Not increasing surveillance when signs of things going wrong leaving babies’ brain damaged or suffering from cerebral palsy.

• Failure to arrange emergency transfer in a timely fashion or at all.

• Failure to listen to mothers where concerns have been raised by them during the course of their pregnancy.

• No effective resuscitation

• No adequate handover to other staff.

The initial enquiry was into 23 cases but has grown to more than 270 cases spanning over 40 years from 1979 to the present day.

This include 22 stillbirths, 3 deaths during pregnancy, 17 deaths of babies after birth and 3 deaths of mothers, 47 cases of substandard care and 51 cases of cerebral palsy or brain damage being caused.

It is considered that the enquiry is likely to grow in numbers and families are being asked to come forward if they have any concerns.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust is currently in special measures following a CQC inspection last year.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust comprise of The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

The specialist Clinical Negligence team at Wilson Browne have had experience of appearing before the Coroner in Shrewsbury and our specialist team can assist should you have any concerns about treatment received at the maternity units at either of these Hospitals.

Our head of team Louise Tyler has undertaken clinical negligence work for over 25 years. She is a member of both The Law Society and Action for Victims against Medical Accidents (AvMA) specialist panels.

28 Nov 2019: hat to do if you think you have been affected by the maternity scandal in Shropshire

Most people will have seen the national coverage regarding the enquiry into high levels of deaths and concerns about maternity units in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, which revealed it to be potentially the UK’s biggest maternity scandal.

There have been major problems at these hospitals that have led to deaths of babies and mothers and also catastrophic injuries to some babies.

Jeremy Hunt (the then Health Secretary) ordered the enquiry in 2017. It is only in the last couple of weeks that the first report was leaked and we have seen various reports in the press and other media.

The enquiry has been led by a maternity expert Donna Ockenden and whilst there is no official report yet, the conclusions of the interim report (that have been leaked) warn that this could be the worst ever maternity scandal.

Some of the failings identified so far are:

  • Not monitoring heart rates during labour resulting in deaths of some babies.
  • Not increasing surveillance when signs of things going wrong leaving babies’ brain-damaged or suffering from cerebral palsy.
  • Failure to arrange emergency transfer in a timely fashion or at all.
  • Failure to listen to mothers where concerns have been raised by them during the course of their pregnancy.
  • No effective resuscitation
  • No adequate handover to other staff.

The initial enquiry was into 23 cases but has grown to more than 270 cases spanning over 40 years from 1979 to the present day.

This includes:

  • 22 stillbirths
  • 3 deaths during pregnancy
  • 17 deaths of babies after birth
  • 3 deaths of mothers
  • 47 cases of substandard care
  • 51 cases of cerebral palsy or brain damage being caused.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust  comprises of The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and is currently in special measures following a CQC inspection last year.

Louise Tyler specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor has commented:

I have been saddened to read the initial findings of the enquiry into the maternity units in Shropshire. So many families have been affected and have waited an incredibly long time to be listened to.

As the enquiry has progressed it is understood that there are likely to be hundreds of families affected and is likely to be the worst maternity scandal the NHS has seen to date. I very much hope that the answers will come and the families will eventually feel they have justice for their loved ones.

What to do if you think you have been affected by the maternity scandal in Shropshire.

• According to the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust website, you should contact Donna Ockenden who is in charge of the enquiry and her contact details are on their website.

• Write to the Hospital Trust with your concerns.

• Contact a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.

How do you know if you have been affected?

• The Hospital Trust may have written to you already to put you on notice.

• You may in the past have started an enquiry or complaint with the Hospital which did not lead anywhere and you may feel now justified in asking the Hospital to re-open that complaint in case it is relevant to this enquiry.

What is medical negligence?

• You have to prove that there has been:-

a) a breach of duty of care; and

b) that breach has caused damage

In terms of breaches some have already been identified by the enquiry and include the following:

  • Not monitoring heart rate during labour resulting in the death of some babies
  • Not increasing surveillance when signs of things going wrong leaving babies brain-damaged or suffering from cerebral palsy
  • Failing to arrange emergency transfer in a timely fashion or at all
  • Failing to listen where concerns have been raised by them during the course of their pregnancy
  • No effective resuscitation
  • No adequate handover to other staff

The damage that may arise as a result of the breaches of duty of care include:

  • Stillbirths
  • Deaths during pregnancy
  • Deaths of babies after birth
  • Death of mother
  • Cerebral palsy or brain damage caused to the baby

Our specialist clinical team have a wealth of experience and are here to help if you have any concerns about treatment received about maternity units at either of these hospitals.

Our head of team Louise Tyler has undertaken clinical negligence work for over 25 years, across the country. With Shropshire being within easy reach, she and her team are on hand to give advice and guidance to anyone who thinks they may have been affected by this sad situation. The specialist Clinical Negligence team at Wilson Browne have had experience of appearing before the Coroner in Shrewsbury and are here to help  if you have any concerns about treatment received at the maternity units at either of these Hospitals.

Louise is a member of both The Law Society and Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) specialist panels.

We would urge anyone who has been affected or thinks they may have been affected, to contact us without delay for a free initial discussion and assessment.

 

Louise Tyler

Posted:

Louise Tyler

Partner

Louise is the Head of the Medical Negligence Team working in this area of law for 25 years. She is a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel, the AvMA (Action for Victims of Medical Accidents) Panel and been appointed to the Executive Committee…