Maternity Negligence Claims: A £500 Million Tragedy
NHS officials are spending nearly £500 million a year insuring against maternity negligence claims.
That is one-fifth of the NHS’s maternity budget or £700 per birth – “absolutely scandalous,” according to Commons Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge.
Like many people we are shocked by these appalling figures – but not surprised.
Claims against NHS maternity units represent a significant percentage of our clinical negligence caseload. It makes tragic reading:
- Babies suffering brain damage because avoidable delays in the birth starved them of oxygen.
- A baby still-born at 29 weeks because the mother was not given antibiotics to treat an infection.
- A baby died after a consultant ignored a reading on a monitor, dismissing it as merely a blip.
- Psychological damage to the parents – post traumatic stress, depression, adjustment disorders.
Maternity claims can often be very costly to the NHS because when a birth goes wrong, it can result in extremely serious consequences.
A baby can be left requiring specialised care for the rest of their lives. Compensation figures of £8 million or more are not unknown for conditions such as Cerebral Palsy.
Coles Miller’s specialist medical negligence team has extensive experience of helping parents to claim compensation for errors by NHS maternity units all over the country.
For expert legal help, contact the head of our clinical negligence team, Coles Miller Partner David Simpson.