Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has apologised for the failings of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust which caused the deaths of 11 babies and one mother.
An independent investigation found that a lethal mix of dysfunctional relationships in the maternity unit at Furness General Hospital led to failings at every level.
According to the report there were poor working relationships between staff and different levels of seniority, substandard clinical practices, and failure to investigate incidents properly or learn lessons.
There have also been suggestions that when babies died the midwives covered up the failings and distorted the truth behind the deaths.
The report also found that there were dominant midwives who were adamant that mothers underwent natural childbirth at any cost which caused unsafe care.
There are a large number of unsatisfactory practices listed in the report. The report made 44 recommendations, many of which need to be implemented across the NHS as a whole, not just Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.
In light of the report’s findings, the Health Secretary has suggested the creation of a special enquiry team to look at serious medical mistakes, something similar to the Airline Accident Investigation Unit.
Slater and Gordon Lawyer Gill Edwards said, “The report is excellent and the findings confirm once again how deep the problems go at the Trust, but now we need to see some action. The report recommends that certain action needs to be taken by June 2015, for example drawing up a protocol for risk assessing who should give birth on the midwifery led unit and proper training for the staff. Families in the Morecambe Bay area are entitled to receive a safe service and we need to ensure that these recommendations are implemented.”
Gill Edwards is a Senior Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
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