Parents whose babies are stillborn or who suffer severe brain injury during childbirth will be offered an independent investigation of their care under plans announced by the Health Secretary.
Launching the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), Jeremy Hunt said the NHS must be better at learning from mistakes. From April 2018, HSIB will examine the 1,000 baby and mother deaths and unexplained serious injuries that occur each year. Currently, investigations are carried out by NHS hospitals but Mr Hunt says the new process will provide “honest, independent answers”.
The patient safety drive will also see Mr Hunt bring forward to 2025 the target of halving the numbers of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and severe birth-related brain injuries by 2035.
The target was initially set in 2015 amid concern that while there had been progress on reducing cases, the improvement had not been as fast as some western countries.
The Health Secretary said the NHS provided safe care for the vast majority of the 700,000 births each year.
In June, the Each Baby Counts inquiry, conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, found that three-quarters of babies who die or are brain damaged during childbirth in the UK could be saved with better medical care.
Reducing death of babies and brain injuries during childbirth – Gotelee …Three-quarters of babies who die or are brain damaged during childbirth in the UK could be saved with better med…
Royal College of Midwives General Secretary Gill Walton welcomed the measures being taken but she said the NHS in England is 3,000 midwives short of what it needs.
“The increasing complexity of women being cared for in our maternity services exacerbates this issue,” she said.
“We must ensure we have enough midwives and obstetricians to provide safe care throughout the maternity pathway and adequate facilities in all birth settings.”
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Parents rightly expect the very highest quality of neonatal care – the consequences of avoidable errors can have devastating implications.
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By making a claim, you could receive the necessary financial help to make life more bearable, as well as helping to ensure the same mistake isn’t repeated.
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