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Junior doctors and midwives who are missing serious complications in women giving birth and then failing to call senior staff have cost the NHS £3.1bn over the last ten years, according to the NHS Litigation Authority. It states that senior staff must be available on maternity wards 24 hours a day to supervise and reduce the number of birth injuries.
Of the 5.5 million babies born in England between 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2010, 5,087 have resulted in claims, however this figure is only expected to increase as claims can be submitted many years after the birth once children’s disabilities and their causes are identified.
The most frequent mistake during labour included failing to recognise when a baby was in distress or not acting quickly enough once spotted; also mistakes and delays during a caesarean section starving a baby of oxygen who then suffered brain damage causing cerebral palsy. Other mistakes included missing abnormalities on antenatal scans, drug errors and shoulder injuries to a baby, called Erb’s Palsy.
“Lessons to be Learned”
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said, "The biggest issue behind these claims is that most of the lessons to be learned from them are not new. It is tragic that the same problems reoccur in our maternity services year on year.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have already called for more consultant presence on the wards in order to have a 'consultant delivered' service. They claim that the cost of fully staffing maternity units in England and Wales would be around half the cost of litigation.
The Department of Health, "Agree that mothers-to-be should be able to access expert services seven days a week and they have a right to expect the same level of care on a Saturday or Sunday as they do on a Wednesday …[and[ are taking action."
Head Injury UK: Birth Injury Claim Experts
Whilst the NHSLA counts the cost of settling birth injury claims, and medical professionals the cost of trying to prevent them; with our clients we see the untold cost that these tragic errors have on the injured children and their families. However, with our support families have at least been able to obtain compensation to make proper provision for their child. If you have unfortunately been affected by a birth injury which you think could have been avoided, please contact Clare Langford to she how she can help you.
We know that we have been extremely fortunate to have had such a consummate PI lawyer in Andy acting on our behalf but we have also been blessed by having had his support, trust, friendship and loyalty throughout. We cannot ever thank him enough.
The compensation Nicola has received has helped her move from a tiny council flat into a massive bungalow which has been specifically adapted. It has enabled her to have a better life.
If it was not for the help of my solicitor I don't know where I would have been today. He provided a great deal of emotional support and secured compensation at various stages from the insurance company to fund my treatment and allow me to live. He was there from start to finish.
Higgs & Sons acted for us for 5 years until our daughters claim for personal injuries was finally settled. Ian remains a trustee of our daughters trust fund and we now look upon him as a friend.