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Catastrophic failures in NHS maternity units leading to avoidable stillbirths have cost £65m in a decade, analysis shows

  • There were 758 failures in NHS maternity units which led to stillbirths since 2010
  • Average payout of £39k per family has led to £30m plus £34.8m in legal fees
  • 75 stillbirths every year are due to negligence, according to charity Tommy’s

Catastrophic failures on NHS maternity units that led to avoidable stillbirths have cost almost £65 million in compensation payouts over the past decade.

Data analysis seen exclusively by The Mail on Sunday shows that the NHS has been found guilty of negligence in 758 cases of stillbirth since 2010. This resulted in an average payout of £39,000 per family – a total of almost £30 million – along with a further £34.8 million in legal fees.

About 75 stillbirths every year are due to negligence, according to Tommy’s, a UK charity carrying out research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.

About 75 stillbirths every year are due to negligence, according to Tommy’s, a UK charity carrying out research into miscarriage, tadalafil 40 mg sunrise stillbirth and premature birth (file photo)

The findings, from an analysis by Lime Solicitors, come six months after the damning report into a string of baby deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

And, just last week, the BBC revealed that half of England’s maternity units are not meeting safety standards set by hospital regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

While the majority of stillbirths are not preventable – common causes include complications with the placenta, lack of oxygen to the baby and mothers suffering high blood pressure – occasionally the outcome is caused by staff negligence.

Robert Rose, head of clinical negligence at Lime Solicitors which specialises in medical negligence claims, says: ‘This includes mothers not being checked appropriately during their pregnancy, a history of diabetes or high blood pressure not being properly monitored, or failing to diagnose and treat an inflection.

‘In all my cases, clients are predominantly seeking to establish the truth, an apology and to ensure healthcare professionals learn from their own tragic experiences to prevent making the same mistakes in the future.’

In January, Bekki Hill, a mother-of-three, reached a settlement with Chesterfield Royal Hospital (pictured) in Derbyshire – six years after her daughter was stillborn

In January, Bekki Hill, a mother-of-three, reached a settlement with Chesterfield Royal Hospital in Derbyshire – six years after her daughter was stillborn.

On several occasions Bekki had told medics she thought her baby, whom she named Willow Grace, was in distress and requested an induction, which was denied.

The hospital says it has made improvements to procedures since Willow Grace’s death.

Bekki says: ‘All I wanted was an explanation and a promise to listen to other women to make sure what happened to Willow Grace doesn’t happen again. In order to get the truth, I had to sue, which should never, ever be the case.’

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