We heard from the BBC news today that a report that they had finally gained access to, revealed a lack of trust and low staff morale contributing to a series of problems in maternity care at North Devon Health Care NHS Trust between 2013 and 2018.
The Trust (which the Care Quality Commission rates as “Requiring Improvement”) manages five different hospitals. The BBC article startlingly sets out that from as long ago as 2015 the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists were reviewing maternity care, amid "concerns over the working culture".
I have just finished reading Adam Kay’s brilliant memoir “This is Going to Hurt”. Adam was a junior doctor who specialised on obstetrics, and his book is very funny, and very moving. He talks about the physical and emotional exhaustion, and the terrible responsibility of knowing that although obstetrics is mostly about safe outcomes for both mum and baby, there will inevitably be some cases that result in catastrophe such as maternal death, or children with cerebral palsy.
The Times yesterday reported on a clinical negligence claim, currently being heard in the High Court, in which a central issue relates to whether or not there is an obligation to tell a pregnant patient that a relative has been diagnosed with a genetic disorder.
It is unsurprising that there is a call for the Crown Prosecution Service to bring corporate manslaughter charges against Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust following an apparently damning report which looks at the culture of the Trust which has led to maternal deaths, stillbirths, babies left brain damaged because the staff failed to realise labour was going wrong or that Group B streptococcus or meningitis was present which required treatment by antibiotics.