A photograph of baby's hand in front of it's face, in soft focus. Potter's syndrome can lead to underdeveloped lungs and kidney abnormalities in babies, but it is often detected during pregnancy.

NHS Trust pays £1m for maternity care whilst being investigated

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, the hospital that have been at the centre of the largest inquiry into baby deaths, was awarded a £1m grant for providing good maternity care.

The care of mothers and babies at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital (SaTH) came under the spotlight in 2017 after concerns were raised in the maternity ward. Hundreds of families have alleged poor care was provided by the trust over the last 40 years. A leaked report earlier this year branded the trust with a “toxic” culture and had contributed to the avoidable deaths of babies and mothers as well as dozens of instances of significant harm.

The scheme was launched in 2018 by NHS Resolution, they are the legal arm of the NHS. As medical negligence solicitors, we often deal with them in relation to negligence claims from their patients. Their ethos is “delivering fair resolution and learning from harm”. They developed the scheme to improve maternity care and reduce the cost of errors.

The SaTH Trust self-certified for the award, signing off that they met all the separate maternity safety actions, including workforce development, reducing errors and acting on the concerns of the patients. SaTH were not the only trusts that self-certified for these measures, 75 of the 132 trusts that participated in the scheme certified that they had scored 10 out of 10. NHS Resolution did not ratify that those standards had been met.

The money was paid to Shrewsbury and Telford last September, whilst the Care Quality Commission inspectors were assessing the trust, subsequently rating the maternity services as inadequate. The inspectors had to make immediate actions to improve patient safety.

Questions must surely be raised at how an NHS trust could have been awarded such a substantial amount in the midst of a “toxic” culture and avoidable deaths. NHS Resolution have introduced the Early Notification Scheme designed to speed up the reporting and investigations of negligence in birth injury cases. Families are referred to the pilot when there is a suspicion that a brain injury might have occurred during labour. This scheme might have flagged poor standard of care to the NHS Resolution earlier, but is this enough?

Pryers have represented many mothers and babies with medical negligence claims. You can read about smoe of those in our birth injury success stories. If you have been affected by poor care at Shrewsbury and Telford or any other healthcare provider, please get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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