APIL joint vice president Suzanne Trask said:
“The aims of the scheme are commendable, but our concerns with how it operates still remain. In particular, there is no indication that families are being informed that they have a right to independent legal advice. The need to take advice from an independent and specialist solicitor cannot be emphasised enough, given the life changing tragedy caused where a baby suffers a brain injury. And the reported adherence to the duty of candour in the report does not reflect the experience of many families. APIL members have reported that families are either not told that an investigation is happening, or that they are not as involved as they should be.
It’s disappointing that this report is three years overdue and is not the full evaluation we were expecting. This is apparently to be conducted next year and we hope it will provide proper insight into whether families truly benefit from the scheme. Meanwhile, maternity scandals in NHS Trusts are coming to light one after the other, demonstrating a widespread crisis. An overarching, strategic approach to learning from failures in care is critical to avoiding heartbreak for more families.”