A new Inquiry has begun, looking at poor maternity care provided at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust. A Care Quality Commission report which was published in 2020, stated that the maternity units at Nottingham University Hospital Trust, were rated as “inadequate” and referred to poor management, staff shortages and poor levels of care.
The Inquiry has already begun, and is looking at how serious mistakes were downgraded so that the Trust avoided any repercussions. We understand that the Inquiry is looking into circumstances involving still births, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain damage or serious injury caused during birth.
The result of the Trust failing to notify NHS England of these incidents, was that the overall impression was that there were fewer serious incidents on the maternity wards at the hospitals covered by Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, compared to other hospitals. The Trust covers care provided at Queens Medical Centre, and also Nottingham City Hospital.
When serious incidents are reported, the Reports are made available to all hospital trusts. However, we understand that Nottingham University Hospitals Trust developed their own process and list of categories, which meant that stillbirths were not always categorised as a serious incident and therefore, the circumstances were not investigated. The Trust categorised these incidents as “higher level incidents” and they were only reported internally.
The CQC Report stated that between 2010 and 2020, 46 babies suffered brain damage while receiving care at the Trust, and 19 babies were stillborn.
The Trust changed their internal process for reporting serious incidents in 2017 and again in 2021, to ensure that investigations are performed where necessary.
The Inquiry is being conducted by NHS Nottingham, Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England. It is expected that the investigation is likely to continue for a year, to ensure that any cases that were initially downgraded, will be identified and investigated. If necessary, the Inquiry team will refer specific cases for an independent investigation to provide families with full answers to any questions that the Inquiry may raise.
The Inquiry will look back at stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries that occurred from 2006 onwards. The aim is to ensure that the reporting systems were effective and that improvements have been made following incidents.
It is important to note that the vast majority of mothers and babies receive good care and have confidence in the Trust. However, the Inquiry is an important step in ensuring that the Trust learn from mistakes and that improvements are made to reduce the number of serious incidents, and allow families reassurance and faith in the care that they will receive.
NHS England has urged any families with concerns about the maternity care that they received at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, to get in touch by emailing the team at email@example.com.
How can we help?
If you are concerned about the care that you received at a maternity unit, we may be able to help you. Please get in touch to discuss the circumstances surrounding your care with a member of our specialist clinical negligence team, who work alongside our in-house mid-wife. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is important to recognise that there is a time limit that applies to clinical negligence claims, which is known as the “limitation” period. Clinical negligence claims must either be settled for compensation, or court proceedings be issued, within three years of the date of alleged negligence, or the date of knowledge of such negligence.
However, in cases involving children with brain damage or serious injuries, the time limit will be three years from the date of their 18th birthday.
There are occasions where the limitation period may be extended. Please get in touch to discuss your concerns, if you feel that this may apply to you.