Birth injury claims for NHS mistakes triple in a decade

Birth injury compensation claims against the NHS for brain damage and cerebral palsy have tripled in the last ten years, according official figures.

Since 2004/5, birth injury compensation claims against NHS maternity units for brain damage and cerebral palsy has risen from £354m to £990m.

Many of the cases are linked with a failure to monitor babies’ heart rates in order to detect risks of oxygen starvation.

The figures also show that last year almost 1,100 claims against maternity units were lodged, totalling more than £1.2bn.

It was also revealed that the stillbirth rate in England and Wales is one of the worst in the Western world at 4.5 per 1,000 births.

A report released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last week found that 37 per cent of maternity services were “inadequate” or “require improvement”.

Last November a national study found that 50 percent of stillbirths occurred after women contacted maternity units because of fears that their baby’s movements had slowed, changed or stopped.

In almost all of these cases the maternity units failed to investigate the warnings properly, whilst others completely botched their attempts to monitor the baby.

The highest claims for birth injury compensation involve cases of brain damage and cerebral palsy – where round-the-clock support is very often required.

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