Nottingham Hospitals Trust at the centre of further Maternity Scandal

News has broken that Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust will face criminal prosecution following the sad death of baby Wynter Andrews, just 23 minutes after she was born in September 2019.

The Nottingham County Coroner found that Wynter's death was a “clear and obvious case of neglect” and that “gross failings” had occurred. It was felt that the clear “failure to provide safe care and treatment” had caused her death and that this was entirely avoidable with the correct treatment.The concerns highlighted by the inquest are reflective of those which have been reiterated over the last two years, with midwives feeling “overworked and understaffed” and key issues, such as high blood pressure readings and concerning CTG traces, being overlooked. The Coroner felt that the issues were “systematic” rather than individual and needed to be addressed at the core of the service.As a result of the shocking failings which were identified, the decision to bring criminal action against the Trust has been made. The gravity of this decision is indicative of the magnitude of improvement which Nottingham Maternity Services will need to implement before they will have made the necessary changes to be both safe and trusted by those using them.This news follows shortly after the shocking release of a memo which was sent to Nottingham midwives by Sharon Wallace, Director of Midwifery at the Nottingham Trust. In her memo, Ms Wallis stated that the media has “painted a damning picture of our maternity services, leaving out of their reports the great work that has been done, the improvements that have been introduced and the passion and commitment of all of the staff”. The memo suggests a belief by those in charge of the services that there are no further lessons to be learnt and does not indicate to the affected families that there is an open-mindedness to change or improvement moving forward.Our clients, and other affected families, are outraged by the sentiment that there is no further work to be done. Jane Williams, Head of Clinical Negligence at Freeths LLP has stated, “our clients were disappointed to read Ms Wallis' statement and felt it showed a lack of respect and understanding what they have suffered as a result of the Trust's failings. There is clearly a long road ahead for the Trust and our clients are concerned that the rate of improvement is simply not quick enough and this includes cultural changes  which are much needed as highlighted by Ms Wallis' recent memo to staff.  Our clients are participating in the Review now being led by Donna Ockenden and are keen to ensure that lessons have finally been learnt and that actual change is being implemented.”Fortunately, Donna Ockenden, who led the inquiry into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford, has begun the process of the independent inquiry into the Nottingham Maternity Services. She has confirmed that she has begun meeting with affected families, and is hoping to begin her review properly in September this year.Although a step in the right direction, it is felt by families that changes are not happening quickly enough. With news of the catastrophic recent events, it is hoped that this will soon start to change.As clinical negligence lawyers we represent families and children who have suffered or have lost loved ones as a result of failures in medical care during labour and birth. These claims seek to ensure that any child who has suffered a preventable injury can access the services they require such as care, therapy, aids and equipment, and suitably adapted accommodation which may assist them during their lives. We can also help secure an apology from the Trust responsible and seek to ensure the same mistakes are not made again.To find recent news relation to this topic:

If you or a loved one have similar concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our Clinical Negligence team for a free, confidential discussion.Please see our designated claims against maternity services page for more information.


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