1,400 Mistakes per Week in English Maternity Hospitals


An investigation by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme has found an average of more than 1,400 mistakes a week were recorded in England's NHS maternity units between 2013 and 2016. Figures from 81 NHS trusts out of the 132 in England— obtained through a Freedom of Information request—showed 305,019 adverse incidents had been recorded in the four-year period. These incidents are when unexpected harm, injury or death has occurred, and include anything from records being lost to a mother or baby dying.


Figures from 39 trusts, for the same four-year period, showed 259 deaths of mothers or babies had been recorded as avoidable or unexpected.


In April, the BBC revealed that the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had ordered an investigation into a number of deaths and other maternity errors at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust.


Seven baby deaths, later deemed as avoidable, took place at the trust between September 2014 and May 2016.


The Department of Health said it could not respond to the figures regarding maternity ward mistakes due to the pre-election purdah period. But it said plans were in place to halve rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries in babies by 2030. As part of that, the government has launched a new £8m maternity safety training scheme.


Writing in October, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government had invested almost £40m since 2010 to make “tangible physical improvements” to maternity units.

BBC. May 8.

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