Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
A not-for-profit organisation representing injured people

Public database of maternity failures key to learning from tragedies

24 Sep 2020
APIL news

A national, public database of recommendations to improve maternity safety in the NHS could spare hundreds of families harm and heartbreak each year, lawyers have told a parliamentary inquiry.   

“Opportunities are being missed to learn lessons and implement safety recommendations after mothers and babies come to harm because of failures in maternity care,” said Sam Elsby, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

APIL made its call for a database in evidence submitted to the Health and Social Care Select Committee Inquiry into safety of maternity services in England.

“Putting all the information on public record, in one accessible place, provides transparency and accountability. Everyone will be able to see whether or not recommendations have been implemented by individual NHS Trusts and where the same failures are being repeated,” said Mr Elsby.

“This could restore confidence for expectant parents, particularly following the widespread reported problems at NHS Trusts in Morecambe Bay, Shrewsbury, and East Kent,” he added.

“The most catastrophic injuries which a person can endure happen to babies because of failures during their births.  Lawyers are there to pick up the pieces and the legal process is often key to identifying the problems which caused harm. But all too often our members find that tragedies are repeated because systemic failings have apparently not been noticed or recognised,” Mr Elsby said.

“It simply cannot be enough for NHS Trusts to say ‘this will never happen again’.”


Notes to editors:

  • APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own.
  • For more information contact APIL's communications manager Jane Hartwell on t: 0115 943 5416, e:, or press and communications officer Lizzy Freeman t: 0115 943 5431, e:
  • Visit the association's website at
  • Follow @APIL on Twitter:

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Head of Public Affairs
Lorraine Gwinnutt
0115 943 5400

Communications Manager
Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416

Press & Communications Officer
Lizzy Fowler
0115 943 5431