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Found 112 results
  1. News Article
    A hospital that was at the centre of a major inquiry into unsafe maternity care five years ago is facing new questions over its safety after bosses admitted a baby boy would have survived if not for mistakes by hospital staff. Jenny Feasey, from Heysham in Lancashire, is still coming to terms with the loss of her son Toby who was stillborn at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, part of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust in January 2017 after a series of mistakes by staff who did not act on signs she had pre-eclampsia. Jenny, 33, has backed The Independent’s campaign for improved maternity safety and called on midwives to learn lessons after what happened to her family. She added: “This was an easily avoidable situation. They just didn’t piece it together, all they had to do was carry out a test and I lost my son because of it." Read full story Source: The Independent, 25 October 2020
  2. News Article
    Parents and professionals have been devastated by the impact of the pandemic on some of the UK’s most vulnerable patients Kelly Stoor gave birth to her daughter, Kaia, 14 weeks early. On 12 March, the midwife held her up for Kelly to see before whisking Kaia off to the neonatal unit for critical care. Kaia became seriously ill and was transferred to a hospital in Southampton, 50 miles away from home, for specialist treatment just before lockdown was imposed on 23 March. While there, she teetered on the edge of life and death for weeks and underwent life-saving surgery twice. The impact on Kelly, her husband, Max, and their other three children has been enormous. Hospital restrictions in April dictated that only one parent was allowed to visit. Both parents were not able not hold their daughter for the first time until 88 days after she was born. “It was extremely difficult,” says Kelly. “I wasn’t allowed to hold her because of Covid. I had to wear gloves if I was going to touch her. We didn’t know if she was going to make it, and Max and I weren’t allowed in together to be with her. There was one time I was with her for three hours and I couldn’t cope any more. I wanted to break.” Kelly is not alone. In the UK, at least 25,000 children are living with conditions that require palliative care support and their lives, along with those of their families, have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying restrictions. A report by Rainbow Trust found that lockdown was a distressing experience for many; 80% of those surveyed by the charity in April said their situation was worse or much worse than before lockdown. Nearly 60% of parents, meanwhile, say that their mental health is worse than before the pandemic. Families have had to take on the strain of caring full-time for a child with a life-limiting illness, such as cancer or neurological conditions, with little to no support. There has been no respite, explains Dr Jon Rabbs, a consultant paediatrician and trustee for Rainbow Trust. When lockdown was announced, many community healthcare services had to stop face to face contact and special schools which supported children were also closed. “One of my families is at breaking point, they are so exhausted and worried,” he says. In child healthcare there have been delays, he says. Urgent treatment is always available but follow-up care has been cancelled or delayed in some places. “In my practice we have not missed any significant relapses,” he adds. “But imagine the worry not knowing whether things were going to be OK or not.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 October 2020
  3. News Article
    The parents of a three-year-old boy whose death was part of an alleged NHS cover-up have won a six year battle for the truth about how he died. Shropshire coroner John Ellery backed the parents of three-year-old Jonnie Meek in a second inquest into his death on Thursday and rejected evidence from nurses about what happened at Stafford Hospital in August 2014. Jonnie, who was born with rare congenital disability De Grouchy syndrome, died two hours after being admitted to hospital to trial a new feed which was being fed directly into his stomach. His parents, John Meek and April Keeling, from Cannock in Staffordshire, have always maintained their son died after a reaction to the milk feed caused him to vomit and suffocate. But they have been forced to battle what they believe was an attempt to hide what happened after they discovered attempts to alter their son’s medical history with claims he had experienced several cardiac arrests requiring resuscitation which never happened. In 2015, healthcare assistant Lauren Tew, who was with Jonnie and his mother when he died, told the HSJ that a statement in her name submitted to a child death overview panel stating Jonnie had died from a sudden cardiac arrest was false and she had never made such a statement. Another statement said Jonnie had been admitted to hospital for three weeks months before his death which also never happened. After his parents exposed the false statements an independent inquiry was launched, with three independent experts agreeing with Jonnie’s parents, and in April last year the High Court quashed the original inquest verdict that Jonnie died of natural causes and pneumonia. Speaking to The Independent Jonnie’s father said: “This does bring us some peace after six years. For the coroner to say he believes April over the nurses after all this time is a big weight lifted off her. “The hospital definitely decided to try and cover up what happened to Jonnie. We have always said we knew what happened and this has been a massive waste of resources. I am still very concerned about how these things can happen in the first place.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 15 October 2020
  4. Content Article
    Health and Social Care Select Committee This is a cross-party body that is responsible for scrutinising the work of the Department of Health and Social Care and its associated public bodies in the UK. It is composed of MPs and examines government policy, spending and administration on behalf of the electorate and the House of Commons.[1] Safety of maternity services in England The Committee opened an inquiry into the Safety of maternity services in England on the 24 July 2020. The intention of this inquiry is to examine evidence relating to ongoing concerns around recurring failings in maternity services, with MPs considering whether clinical negligence and litigation processes need to be changed to improve the safety of maternity services, as well as the extent to which a “blame culture” affects medical advice and decision-making.[2] Formal meeting (oral evidence session) - Tuesday 29 September 2020 In this video of the first oral evidence session of this inquiry, the Committee heard from: Michelle Hemmington, Co-founder at Campaign for Safer Births Dr Bill Kirkup, Chairman at Morecambe Bay maternity investigation and East Kent maternity investigation Professor Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at Care Quality Commission Professor Jacqueline Dunkley Bent, Chief Midwifery Office at NHS England and NHS Improvement Dr Matthew Jolly, National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women's Health at NHS England and NHS Improvement References UK Parliament, Health and Social Care Committee, Last Accessed 1 October 2020. UK Parliament, Safety of Maternity Services in England, Last Accessed 1 October 2020.
  5. News Article
    Too many English hospitals risk repeating maternity scandals involving avoidable baby deaths and brain injury because staff are too frightened to raise concerns, the chief inspector of hospitals has warned. Speaking at the opening session of an inquiry into the safety of maternity units by the health select committee, Prof Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals for the Care Quality Commission, said: “There are too many cases when tragedy strikes because services are not not doing their job well enough.” Baker admitted that 38% of such services were deemed to require improvement for patient safety and some could get even worse. “There is a significant number of services that are not achieving the level of safety they should,” he said. He said many NHS maternity units were in danger of repeating fatal mistakes made at what became the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS foundation trust (UHMBT), despite a high profile 2015 report finding that a “lethal mix” of failings at almost every level led to the unnecessary deaths of one mother and 11 babies. “Five years on from Morecombe Bay we have still not learned all the lessons,” Baker said. “[The] Morecombe Bay [report] did talk about about dysfunctional teams and midwives and obstetricians not working effectively together, and poor investigations without learning taking place. And I think those elements are what we are still finding in other services.” Baker urged hospital managers to encourage staff to whistleblow about problems without fear of recrimination. He said: “The reason why people are frightened to raise concerns is because of the culture in the units in which they work. A healthy culture would mean that people routinely raise concerns. But raising concerns is regarded as being a difficult member of the team.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 September 2020
  6. Content Article
    Over 200,000 babies were born when lockdown was at its most restrictive, between 23 March and 4 July. The survey of 5,474 respondents suggests that the impact of COVID-19 on these babies could be severe and may be longlasting. The report found: 6 in 10 (61%) parents shared significant concerns about their mental health. A quarter (24%) of pregnant respondents who cited mental health as a main concern said they would like help with this, rising to almost a third (32%) of those with a baby. Only around 3 in 10 (32%) were confident that they could find help for their mental health if they needed it. Almost 9 in 10 (87%) parents were more anxious as a result of COVID-19 and the lockdown. There was a notable variation among respondents who reported feeling ‘a lot’ more anxious: White 42%, Black/ Black British 46%, Asian/Asian British 50%, parents 25 years old or under 54%, and parents with a household income of less than £16k 55%.
  7. News Article
    Yesterday marked the second World Patient Safety Day, and this year’s theme shined a light on health worker safety – those on the frontline of the pandemic have been selfless in their sacrifices to care for an ailing global population. What has become ever clearer is that a health system is nothing without those who work within it and that we must prioritise the safety and wellbeing of health workers, because without safe health workers we cannot have safe patients. Improving maternity safety has been a priority for some time – although rare, when things go wrong the consequences are unthinkable for families and the professionals caring for them. Maternity negligence makes up 50% of the total value of negligence claims across all NHS sectors, according to the latest NHS Resolution annual report and accounts. It states there were claims of around £2.4 billion in 2019/20, which is in the region of £6.5 million a day. This cost says nothing of the suffering families and professionals associated. However, without investing in the maternity frontline we cannot hope to make integral systemic changes to improve maternity safety and save mothers’ and babies’ lives, writes Sara Ledger, head of research and development at Baby Lifeline in the Independent. "We owe it to every mother and baby to rigorously and transparently scrutinise the safety of maternity services, which will be in no small way linked to the support staff receive." Read full story Source: The Independent, 17 September 2020
  8. News Article
    A new study shows a quarter of mothers say their choices were not respected during childbirth, with some left with life-changing injuries as a result, despite Britain’s highest judges establishing women should be the primary decision makers during labour five years ago. A poll of 1,145 women, carried out by leading pregnancy charity Birthrights and shared exclusively with The Independent, also found that a third said healthcare professionals did not even seek their own opinions on the childbirth process, while 14& said their choices were overruled. One woman told The Independent she had been forced to give up her career as a lawyer following what she described as a “violent delivery”, while her baby daughter also sustained serious injuries to her face which can still be seen now – 12 years after she gave birth. Birthrights, which campaigns for respectful pregnancy care for women, pointed to the fact half a decade has passed since Nadine Montgomery’s Supreme Court case proved mothers-to-be are the primary decision-makers in their own care yet this is still not the reality for the majority of women. Read full story Source: The Independent, 3 September 2020
  9. News Article
    Current scientific techniques are not yet safe or effective enough to be used to create gene-edited babies, an international committee says. The technology could one day prevent parents from passing on heritable diseases to children, but the committee says much more research is needed. The world's first gene-edited babies were born in China in November 2018. The scientist responsible was jailed, amid a fierce global backlash. The committee was set up in response. Gene-editing could potentially help avoid a range of heritable diseases by deleting or changing troublesome coding in embryos. But experts worry that modifying the genome of an embryo could cause unintended harm, not only to the individual but also future generations that inherit these same changes. It made several recommendations, including: Extensive conversations in society before a country decides whether to permit this type of gene-editing. If proven to be safe and effective, initial uses should be limited to serious, life-shortening diseases which result from the mutation of one or both copies of a single gene, such as cystic fibrosis. Rigorous checks at every stage of the process to make sure there are no unintended consequences, including biopsies and regular screening of embryos. Pregnancies and any resulting children to be followed up closely. An international scientific advisory panel should be established to constantly assess evidence on safety and effectiveness, allowing people to report concerns about any research that deviates from guidelines. Read full story Source: BBC News, 4 September 2020
  10. News Article
    High-risk women at a maternity unit were not monitored closely enough and there was a "lack of learning" from a mother's death, inspectors found. A Care Qualtiy Commission (CQC) report rated the unit at Basildon University Hospital as inadequate with "failings" found in six other serious cases. Inspectors carried out unannounced checks in June after a whistleblower voiced fears about patient safety. The unit was criticised following the deaths of baby Ennis Pecaku in September 2018 and mother Gabriela Pintilie, 36, in February 2019. The CQC previously carried out an inspection of the department the month Mrs Pintilie died and said the unit, which had once been rated outstanding, required improvement. Inspectors returned for the surprise "focused" inspection after being contacted by an anonymous whistleblower. The report found babies were born in a poor condition and then transferred for cooling therapy, which can be offered for newborn babies with brain injury caused by oxygen shortage during birth. During their visit, inspectors found: High-risk women giving birth in a low-risk area. Not enough staff with the right skills and experience. "Dysfunctional" working between midwives, doctors and consultants, which had an impact on the "increased number of safety incidents reported". Concerns over foetal heart monitoring. Women being referred to by room numbers instead of their names. A "lack of response by consultants to emergencies" resulting in delays The CQC also referred to issues relating to the death of Mrs Pintilie, who was not named in the report, and said five serious incidents "identified the same failings of care". Read full story Source: BBC News, 18 August 2020 "This demonstrated there had been a lack of learning from previous incidents and actions put in place were not embedded."
  11. Content Article
    Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative has updated its policy guidance in the light of these investigations and some organisations are using posters and checklists to help staff understand and carry out their responsibilities. HSIB has also observed the impact of high task load, environment and staffing levels on the ability of staff to detect SUPC. Recommendations Maternity services should consider the following learning observations to ensure safe delivery of skin-to-skin care. • Based on the evidence, a baby who is born apparently well, with good Apgar scores, can be safely laid skin-to-skin with the mother or parent and requires close observation in the first minutes after birth. • Apgar scores must be attributed using close clinical observation of the baby. This can be achieved with the baby remaining in skin-toskin contact. There may be a need to interrupt skin-to-skin contact briefly to ensure Apgar scoring is assessed accurately. • Vigilant observation of the mother and baby should continue, with prompt removal of the baby if the health of either gives concern. • Mothers should be encouraged to be in a semirecumbent (half lying, half sitting) position to hold and feed their baby, ensuring the mother can see the baby’s face. • Care should be taken to ensure that the baby’s position is such that their airway remains clear and does not become obstructed. • Staff should have a conversation with the mother and her companion about recognising any changes in the baby’s condition. • Always listen to parents and respond immediately to any concerns raised. • Medicines given to the mother should be considered when discussing skin-to-skin contact. Pain relief given to mothers can affect their ability to observe and care for their baby. • Additional risk factors should also be considered. The level of risk for SUPC when a baby is in skin-to-skin contact can increase with, for example, increased maternal body mass index, antenatal use of opiate medication, sedation, and staff’s focus on other tasks.
  12. News Article
    Hundreds more cases of potentially avoidable baby deaths, stillbirths and brain damage have emerged at an NHS trust, raising concerns about a possible cover-up of the true extent of one the biggest scandals in the health service’s history. The additional 496 cases raise further serious concerns about maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford hospital NHS trust since 2000. The cases involving stillbirths, neonatal deaths or baby brain damage, as well as a small number of maternal deaths, have been passed to an independent maternity review, led by the midwifery expert Donna Ockenden. They bring the total number of cases being examined to 1,862. They will also be passed to West Mercia police, which last month launched a criminal investigation into the trust’s maternity services. Detectives are trying to establish whether there is enough evidence to bring charges of corporate manslaughter against the trust or individual manslaughter charges against staff involved. The extra 496 cases had not emerged until now because an “open book” initiative led by the NHS in 2018 asked only for digital records of cases identified as a cause for serious concerns. The vast majority of the 496 further cases were recorded only in paper documents. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 21 July 2020
  13. News Article
    African American children are three times more likely than their white peers to die after surgery despite arriving at hospitals without serious underlying conditions, the latest evidence of unequal outcomes in health care, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, “We know that traditionally, African Americans have poorer health outcomes across every age strata you can look at,” said Olubukola Nafiu, the lead researcher and an anaesthesiologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “One of the explanations that’s usually given for that, among many, is that African American patients tend to have higher comorbidities. They tend to be sicker.” But his research challenges that explanation, he said, by finding a racial disparity even among otherwise healthy children who came to hospitals for mostly elective surgeries. Out of 172,549 children, 36 died within a month of their operation. But of those children, nearly half were black – even though African Americans made up 11% of the patients overall. Black children had a 0.07% chance of dying after surgery, compared with 0.02% for white children. Postoperative complications and serious adverse events were also more likely among the black patients and they were more likely to require a blood transfusion, experience sepsis, have an unplanned second operation or be unexpectedly intubated. Read full story Source: The Independent, 20 July 2020
  14. Content Article
    Episodes: Beginnings Apprentice Flying Solo Detour Balance Night Shift Motherhood Part 1 Motherhood Part 2 Continuity Homebirth Caesarean Flexible Mistakes Dads Guidelines Hands on Postnatal Handover MindNBody Lithotomy Teacher Language 1 Language 2 Names Ally Baby Loss Awareness Week Names Click on the link below to access the full series.
  15. News Article
    Babies are at risk of dying from common treatable infections because NHS staff on maternity wards are not following national guidance and are short-staffed and overworked, an investigation has revealed. The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), a national safety watchdog, has warned that NHS staff on maternity wards face sometimes conflicting advice on treating women who are positive for a group B streptococcus (GBS) infection. They are also making errors in women’s care because of the pressure of work and a lack of staff, with antibiotics not being administered when they should be. HSIB’s specialist investigators examined 39 safety incidents in which GSB had been identified, and found that the infection had contributed to six baby deaths, six stillbirths and three cases of babies being left with severe brain damage. In its report, the watchdog warned that the problems on maternity wards meant that even in cases where mothers were known to be positive for GBS infection, this wasn’t shared with the mother or noted in the record, resulting in the standard care and antibiotics not being provided. It added: “The identification and escalation of care for babies who show signs of GBS infection after birth was missed. This has resulted in severe brain injury and death for some of the affected babies.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 19 July 2020
  16. Content Article
    The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) published ‘Summary of themes arising from the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch maternity programme (April 2018-December 2019)’ in February 2020. This described eight themes for further exploration in order to highlight opportunities for system-wide learning; one of these themes was group B streptococcus (GBS). This report, Severe brain injury, early neonatal death and intrapartum stillbirth associated with group B streptococcus infection, highlights a number of patient safety concerns and recommends that maternity care providers should consider the findings and make necessary changes to their local systems to ensure that mothers and babies receive care in line with national guidance. The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch will keep the theme of group B streptococcus under review and consider a future national investigation to explore this subject further.
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