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’.”