I have received yet another obstetric report on a case which highlights one of the main failings as the obstetric registrar failing to seek consultant advice when he got into difficulties.
This labour happened in the very early hours of the morning.This seems to be a recurring theme with many maternity wards not having onsite obstetric consultants between the hours of 8pm and 8am. This results in registrars continuing to manage difficult labours when they are out of their depths.
Obstetric accidents can result in very serious brain injuries or more tragically, death. Too frequently we are finding that our obstetric and neonatal experts are commenting unequivocally that the delays and difficulties encountered would not have arisen had a more senior obstetrician been called. These birth injuries could easily be avoided.
The press often reports on clinical negligence claims draining on valuable NHS resources. Perhaps deeper consideration should be given to placing around the clock consultant obstetricians in maternity wards. I can say without hesitation that the money saved from having to compensate fewer tragic birth injuries would easily cover the cost of 24/7 consultant access.
It is a bleak thought that with all the developments in western medicine, pregnant mothers must expect such a disparity in quality of treatment between night and day.
Iona Millais is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, or contact us online and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.