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'Consult lawyers over NHS issues' urges specialist healthcare lawyer

Leading healthcare lawyer Suzanne White urges new NHS regulator to consult with healthcare lawyers over injuries to mothers and babies after BBC report shows over 276,000 incidents were logged by worried hospital staff between April 2015 and March 2017

21 December 2017

A leading healthcare lawyer has urged the NHS to consult specialist lawyers over incidents have led to a mother or baby being harmed in NHS hospitals after the BBC revealed that tens of thousands had been injured in recent years.

According to the BBC over 276,000 incidents have been logged by staff between April 2015 and March 2017 through a voluntary scheme run by the regulator NHS Improvement.

Whilst most were minor or near misses, according to the BBC, nearly one in four incidents led to the mother or baby being harmed. In a reported 288 cases, there was a death.

Suzanne White from law firm Leigh Day, who acts for many mothers and babies who have been harmed within the NHS, has called for a working group with lawyers specialising in healthcare and the new NHS regulator to reduce the number of incidents.

Ms White, head of the clinical negligence team at Leigh Day, said: “We see the results of negligent care every day and have many years’ experience dealing with these tragic issues.

“We know that the same issues which keep occurring across trusts. We call on Jeremy Hunt to bring together those expert lawyers, with many years’ experience in healthcare, and the new NHS regulator to understand what keeps going wrong and what the NHS can do to reduce the number of mothers and babies harmed.”

According to the BBC report the more serious incidents included babies being deprived of oxygen and life-threatening conditions not being diagnosed, the BBC reported. In response to the BBC’s investigation the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

"Whilst it's encouraging that hospitals are being increasingly honest when things go wrong, my top priority as Health Secretary is to reduce avoidable harm in hospitals and save families from the agony that comes with it."

The new regulator will investigate serious incidents "without fear or favour, and send warnings across the NHS to prevent repeat mistakes. These important changes will save babies' lives, and avert pain and heartache for thousands of families", Mr Hunt said.

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