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According to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) rating data, 38% of maternity service units in England require safety improvements. That’s almost two fifths. So what is the problem? And could a maternity database, as suggested by The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, be part of the solution?
Concerns about safety in maternity units have grabbed headlines in recent years. High numbers of stillbirths, neonatal deaths and other incidents have been reported at a number of NHS Trusts in England, including Morecambe Bay, Shrewsbury, and East Kent.
The CQC notes that UK perinatal mortality rates rank higher than many other European, or similar high-income, countries. Insufficient training, poor working relationships, and inadequate risk assessments have been cited as some of the problems leading to safety concerns.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has called for the creation of a national maternity database. They envisage that the database would list, at a national level, all avoidable system failures in maternity services and set out actions to improve patient safety.
According to APIL president, Sam Elsby.
putting all the information on public record, in one accessible place, provides transparency and accountability. Everyone will be able to see whether or not recommendations have been implemented by individual NHS Trusts and where the same failures are being repeated…this could restore confidence for expectant parents, particularly following the widespread reported problems at NHS Trusts in Morecambe Bay, Shrewsbury, and East Kent”.
The failure to provide safe medical care to expectant mothers and their babies can lead to devastating outcomes and it is vital that lessons are learned to reduce those risks in the future. It is hoped that a national maternity database will help this process.
If you or a family member have been affected by the issues raised in this blog please contact one of our Medical Negligence & Personal Injury lawyers on 020 7814 1200, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jordan is a trainee solicitor in the Medical Negligence & Personal Injury team.
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