An article in the Law Society Gazette reports that poor quality serious incident reporting has resulted in missed opportunities to reduce maternity care medical negligence.

In 2016/17 the NHS Resolution’s indemnity schemes received 10,686 claims, of which 10% were Obstetric claims –  however these 10% of claims accounted for 50% of the monetary value due to the nature of the injuries, which often result in life-long care needs.

A review of 50 maternity care claims occurring between 2012 and 2016 by NHS Resolution, (formerly NHS Litigation Authority), found evidence that poor quality serious incident reporting and investigation is partly responsible for the number of babies born with brain injuries and cerebral palsy remaining static. These claims have a potential liability in excess of £390,000,000 (excluding defence and wider healthcare costs).

The review found several areas of concern including:

  • The patient and family were only involved in 40% of investigations
  • Only 32% involved an obstetrician, midwife and neonatologist
  • Only 4% had an external reviewer
  • Reports focused too heavily on individual errors
  • Inadequate staff training and monitoring of competency
  • Shortcomings in informed consent evident

NHS Resolution has already commenced to make changes to the way claims are defended.  It now requires all NHS Trusts to notify it of all potential cases of serious brain injury within 30 days – regardless of the possible value of the claim.

To read the full Law Society Gazette article please click here.