Recently it was reported that the cost to the NHS, and ultimately the tax payer, of negligence in pregnancy has reached £1 billion as more than 1,300 babies were killed or left seriously harmed last year.
Many campaigners allege that the health service is failing to learn from its mistakes and blame a growing desire for “natural births” without medical intervention.
Claims in respect of stillborn babies are also rising with experts warning of an “explosion” in payouts as parents realise that their child’s death should have been prevented.
The most costly claims involve babies brain-damaged during labour who will require constant care for the rest of their lives. Many of these claims relate to a failure of midwives and doctors to monitor babies’ heart rates properly which can lead to their brains being starved of oxygen (otherwise known as hypoxia) if the birth is delayed.
The worst performing areas of Britain have death rates a third higher than the best.
Janet Scott, research and prevention manager at Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, said “There’s no escape for hospitals that are doing less well. They can’t argue it’s about their population or the area they serve.”
According to a new study by the University of Leicester, one in every 150 babies born in Britain is stillborn or dies soon after birth. As a result infant mortality in the UK is now the second worst in western Europe.
At BLB our Clinical Negligence specialist, David Gazzard, has vast experience of dealing with claims involving Obstetrics. Should you wish to speak to David in confidence, please call him on 01793 615011.