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Was Your Maternity Care Up To Scratch?

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 15/11/2013

Women are being turned away from maternity wards up and down the country because there simply isn't enough room according to evidence from the National Audit Office (NAO).

What Effects Are Staff Shortages Having on Your Care?

With a shortage of consultants at more than half of maternity units and a shortfall of over 2,000 midwives across the country, the amount that the NHS is spending on maternity blunders reached almost £500 million in 2012/2013 alone.

Although MPs have described these figures as "absolutely scandalous" this does not stop mothers and children suffering from life-changing birth injuries. Birth injuries can happen either before, during or after the birth of your child.

Some common birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy (CP)
  • Erb's Palsy (EP)
  • Perineal tears
  • Infections

Around £700 per birth of maternity service funding is spent on clinical negligence cover, this money could be spent elsewhere. In some hospitals, women were readmitted 3 times more than in others after having a baby due to complications. Widespread variation can also be found in the number of infants that get an infection after birth, are stillborn or pass away within days of birth.

Birth Rate 40 Year High but Where Are the Midwives?

Birth rates are at an all-time high and with a vast shortage of midwives, mothers and children are being put at risk. Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives said that the "40-year high" birth rate is set to continue - but maternity services don't come cheap, to maintain a high quality system more needs to be spent. She also pointed out the "terrible consequences for mothers, babies and their families" if mistakes are made.

Simpson Millar LLP help mothers and their children claim compensation for medical negligence where avoidable birth injuries have taken place. Compensation can be very important for caring and maintaining children who have suffered in the short and long term. In the majority of cases, the compensation is used to fund day care and health facilities that the parents would not otherwise have been able to afford.

Dr Dan Poulter, health minister, has said the government is on track to meet its target ratio of 1 midwife to every 29.5 births. However, until that number is reached mistakes are still being made in terms of maternity support and care.

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