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Clinical negligence solicitor voices concern following BBC investigation into East Kent hospitals

A BBC investigation has found that at least seven preventable baby deaths may have occurred since 2016 in one of the largest groups of hospitals in England.

23 January 2020

The BBC investigation raised serious concerns about maternity services in the East Kent NHS Foundation Trust. The trust is made up of five hospitals and community clinics. Almost 7,000 babies are born at the hospitals each year.
Leigh Day solicitor Emmalene Bushnell, represented two families whose children were stillborn at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate in 2016. In one of the cases the hospital failed to recognise a baby was small for dates, did not act on CTG readings that were suspicious and failed to promptly deliver the baby and the baby died. In the second case, in June 2016, the hospital did not identify and respond to risk factors for uterine rupture and failed to continuously monitor the baby’s heart rate with a CTG.  Sadly the baby girl died and the mother suffered a uterine rupture.
Emmalene Bushnell, clinical negligence solicitor at Leigh Day, told the BBC:
“The trust admitted in both of those cases, that had proper care been given in terms of the obstetrics and midwifery care, then those babies would have survived.”
Staff from the trust told the BBC that they believe that the board does not prioritise maternity services and they felt that there was little point in raising any concerns as no action was taken.
In 2014, the trust was placed into special measures after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission rated its maternity services as inadequate.
East Kent NHS Foundation Trust told the BBC it has apologised and said it had "not always provided the right standard of care.”
Emmalene added:
“The number of cases that the BBC investigation has identified are concerning.  One preventable death is too many.  There needs to be a full investigation of the care provided in these cases and many others, and immediate steps taken to improve maternity care and ensure patient safety.”

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