Our sectors

Show Site Navigation

Report confirms that lessons have not been learned in maternity care, says medical negligence lawyer

A lawyer who specialises in medical negligence has said that a report into NHS compensation claims shows that lessons have not been learned in relation to serious medical negligence

20 September 2017

The report, entitled five years of cerebral palsy claims and published by NHS Resolution, the body that handles NHS compensation claims, shows that there has been hardly any change in the most serious incidents of clinical negligence over the past 20 to 25 years.

Focusing particularly on maternity care, the report highlights issues with individual doctors and midwives as well as more widespread problems with staff training across the NHS.

The report looked at fifty cases in which the NHS had admitted liability for a child suffering cerebral palsy due to medical errors

Examples of serious errors highlighted in the report include a doctor who did not know how to resuscitate a baby, midwives who did not fully understand how to monitor heartrates and breech babies being delivered by medical staff who did not have the correct training.

The report shows that internal investigations carried out by NHS Trusts after mistakes were made were of “poor” quality and that parents were only involved in 40 percent of these investigations.

Further issues highlighted by the report were poor communication on medical wards, failure to adhere to guidelines and inadequate skills and knowledge.

Errors in fetal heart rate monitoring were present in 64 percent of the cases analysed by the review.

In the report authored by Dr Michael Magro, it states: "The evidence suggests that very little, if anything, has changed over the last 20 to 25 years.

"A 1991 review of 110 cerebral palsy compensation claims identified that 70% were related to CTG abnormalities and CTG interpretation, while a 2004 review of medicolegal aspects with cardiotocography identified identical themes to this review - recording of maternal pulse, poor quality erratic tracing, misinterpretation, inaction with suspicious or abnormal CTGs and failure to incorporate the clinical picture."

Emmalene Bushnell, a clinical negligence lawyer from law firm Leigh Day, said: “This report confirms what we have seen over the past 20 years, that despite saying lessons will be learned, serious examples of medical negligence continue.”

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Share this page: Print this page