False Claims of Safe Maternity Units Results in Hospitals Being Forced to Repay Millions
Giving birth can be a daunting experience, there are lots of ways in which things can go wrong. There is an expectation that the professionals responsible for you are qualified and well-equipped to deal with any scenario. You put yours and your baby’s life into the hands of professionals and trust that you will both safe. When things do go wrong, the consequences can be devastating for families.
In 2017, the Care Quality Commission reported that there were failings in maternity services across England. These concerns included lack of midwives and obstetricians as well as “poor multidisciplinary team working and a failure to review and learn from adverse events in the maternity services of some hospitals”. The report highlighted three main areas which required improvement: (i) development of the board level maternity safety champion role, (ii) staff competencies, teamworking and training, and (iii) engagement and involvement with individuals and groups who use maternity services.
The Maternity Incentive Scheme was launched in October 2020 which comprised of 10 Safety Actions with the view to making the Maternity Services safer. NHS Resolutions have said “The maternity incentive scheme makes a strong financial case for NHS trusts to focus on actions to improve the safety of maternity services and has put investment in patient safety firmly on the agenda of trust boards. Ongoing evaluation of the scheme will ensure that the scheme’s safety actions continue to make a difference and benefit patients.”
However, it has now been established that at least 7 NHS Trusts have been forced to repay millions after falsely claiming their maternity units were safe including: North West Anglia Foundation Trust, West Suffolk Foundation Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, University Hospitals Birmingham, Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, East Kent Hospitals University Trust, and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust. The Trusts had been found to have been misreporting their level of safety in order to obtain higher levels of funding.
Parents of Wynter Andrews, who sadly died at Nottingham University Hospitals, have said “If the trust are prepared to misreport to get funding, it confirms to us that they can mislead families as they did to us. What worries us is where that money has gone over the years, as it hasn’t been used for safe staffing levels or equipment, as the CQC found were both lacking. This was a basic reporting requirement and the trust failed. This is exactly why external oversight by an independent inquiry is needed.”
If you are concerned about treatment or care that you received during your pregnancy, delivery and/or post natal care, please call Swain & Co’s team of experienced medical negligence lawyers.
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