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Lincolnshire hospitals trust paid over 400k in stillbirth related negligence claims in 10 years

Lincolnshire hospitals trust paid over 400k in stillbirth related negligence claims in 10 years

Legal costs to the NHS and claimants amounted to £435,953

Lincolnshire Live

A Lincolnshire hospital trust settled 13 clinical negligence claims relating to stillbirths and paid more than £800,000 in damages and legal costs combined in the last decade. A freedom of information request submitted to NHS Resolution - which advises the NHS on resolving concerns and disputes fairly - has revealed the number and cost of claims closed between 2010/11 and 2020/21 with damages paid where the primary injury is “stillborn”.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust paid £439,031 in damages and £435,953 in legal costs, new figures show. The data also revealed that nationally, more than one baby is lost each week due to failings, with trusts across the country paying out a total £29.8 million in damages and £34.8 million in legal fees across 758 clinical negligence cases.

The figures have been released by clinical negligence law firm Lime Solicitors Lime Solicitors as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week which runs from October 9 to 15. It comes after midwife and nurse Donna Ockenden chaired an independent review into two decades of appalling care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust which uncovered failings leading to the deaths of 201 babies and mothers in Shrewsbury.

Robert Rose, head of clinical negligence at Lime Solicitors, said: “While the Ockenden Report focused on failings in Shrewsbury and Telford, its findings appear indicative of maternity services across the country, which is further highlighted by the fact that more than one baby in England is at risk of being stillborn due to negligence each week.

"Failures in care are being repeated because lessons are not learned. There has to be change and there has to be candour when mistakes are made. Not all stillbirths are preventable. Some can be caused as a result of complications with the placenta, diabetes, high blood pressure, infection or lack of oxygen to the baby.

"Negligence occurs when medical professionals fail in providing an acceptable standard of care for their patients, such as mothers not being monitored appropriately during their pregnancy, a pre-existing history of diabetes or high blood pressure not being properly monitored or failing to diagnose and treat an inflection.

“Our NHS is fantastic. While the first duty of a healthcare system is to do no harm, sometimes things do go wrong and care falls below medical standards. Clinical negligence claims play a critical role in safeguarding patients against negligent treatment. 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.

“Suffering a stillbirth is extremely traumatic and while no amount of compensation can change the pain negligence causes, one of the key reasons parents decide to make a claim is to ensure they do not suffer financially. The amount of compensation depends on each individual scenario, but can include loss of earnings, expected future financial losses, care and support, therapy and counselling, travel costs, childcare, and funeral expenses.”

A ULHT spokesperson said: “Any loss of life is always very difficult and upsetting and we work hard to continuously improve our services and share best practice to help support our maternity patients. As a trust, we review all losses to ensure we identify if things could have been done differently and then take steps to make these changes.

"We have also fully implemented the ‘Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle’ and are working through implementing all of the recommendations from the Ockenden report to ensure that this learning is seen directly in our services.”

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