Families call for an inquiry into all maternity services across England following continued evidence of poor maternity care nationwide

A body of families campaigning for safer maternity services, called The Maternity Safety Alliance, has written a letter to the Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, calling for a statutory public inquiry into all NHS maternity services across England.

It is clear that the families who have been affected by poor maternity care in their own local area now feel that individual inquiries are no longer proving to be sufficient in enacting the change required. Instead, they feel that any inquiry should be extended and should become an overarching inquiry into all services throughout the country.

This comes after a number of Trusts, including Morecambe Bay, Shrewsbury and Telford, East Kent and Nottingham, have received press around the level of maternity care they have provided, and yet parents and families from other areas of the country and now calling for the same inquiries into their local Trusts.

The Maternity Safety Alliance to the Health Secretary

The Maternity Safety Alliance’s letter explains that they feel individual national initiatives and policies, although useful, are just not sufficient to tackle the systemic issues which appear to be strife amongst maternity services across the country. Many feel as though the issues stem from a poor culture which is not specific to any location but occurs nationwide, and that improvements therefore need to be enforced throughout before any real change can take place. It is felt that, as the issues appear to be systemic, they need to be dealt with in the same way and that only a judge-led statutory public inquiry can make a difference, stepping away from politics and focussing on the families who have suffered.

Although a huge undertaking, an overarching statutory inquiry would mean that legal powers would be given to compel witnesses to give evidence and would limit the Government’s control, making it as independent as possible. It is hoped that an inquiry encompassing nationwide issues would allow those with the ability to ensure real change to obtain a full overview of the concerns, dig deeper into the system, and make improvements which are significant and long lasting to save many families from enduring further pain moving forward.

Jane Williams, Partner and head of our Clinical Negligence team in Nottingham, has recently spoken to the BBC

Jane echoes the views of the clients she is currently acting for, and has acted for over decades, who are desperate for change within maternity services across the country. She told the BBC that so far the Nottingham review appeared to already have highlighted “systemic failings in obstetric care across the country and the need for lessons to be finally learnt and recommendations implemented to improve the safety of maternity care". Jane noted that the families she had acted for over the years "have had enough of the ongoing indifference and intransigence to what is horrendous failings".Jane stressed that "despite inquiry after inquiry, apology after apology and a slew of litigation, neither the NHS or the government appear willing to tackle the real issue - a root-and-branch rethink of what young mothers and families want at one of the most stressful points in their lives. A statutory public inquiry would hopefully secure this once and for all." It is now hoped that families help push forward the processes required to make a real change.

As clinical negligence lawyers we have been contacted and represent a number of families and children who have suffered or have lost loved ones as a result of failures in maternity 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. For those who have sadly suffered loss we can help to secure support and therapy to help those suffering to come to terms with these devastating events. We can also help secure an apology from the Trust responsible and seek to ensure the same mistakes are not made again.

If you or a loved one have similar concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our team for a free, confidential discussion.The full BBC article can be found here.


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