The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has thrown its support behind a government committee's call for improvements to NHS maternity services.
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report on maternity services in England found that the rate of babies that were stillborn or died within seven days of birth in England compared poorly with some other European countries. It also found that about £480 million, nearly a fifth of trusts' spending on maternity services, was set aside for clinical negligence cover, which was equivalent to £700 per every birth in England.
APIL said that NHS maternity services needed to do more to avoid needless catastrophic injuries to babies.
“Errors during labour can lead to the most catastrophic of injuries which require round-the-clock care for victims for the rest of their lives,” said APIL president Matthew Stockwell.
“Such life-shattering injuries are expensive. A baby who is severely brain damaged cannot so much as feed, clothe, or bathe itself and will not lead the life it could, and should, have enjoyed. Claims for this type of negligence run into the millions of pounds.
“I couldn’t agree more that the way to cut the cost of compensation claims is to cut off the problem at its source – the failure to uphold reasonable standards of care for women and their babies”.