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Dozens of babies died or were injured by poor maternity care, inquiry finds

The Government is expected to respond to the report later on Wednesday, which was ordered following growing concerns about quality of care.

19 October 2022

Dozens of babies died or were left brain damaged by poor care at one of England’s largest NHS trusts, a damning inquiry has found.

Dr Bill Kirkup, chairman of the independent inquiry into maternity at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, said his panel had heard “harrowing” accounts from families receiving “suboptimal” care, with mothers ignored by staff and shut out from their own care.

“An overriding theme, raised us with time and time again, is the failure of the trust’s staff to take notice of women when they raised concerns, when they questioned their care, and when they challenged the decisions that were made about their care,” the report said.

Of 202 cases reviewed by the experts, the outcome could have been different in 97 cases, the inquiry found.

In 69 of these 97 cases, it is predicted the outcome should reasonably have been different and could have been different in a further 28 cases.

Of the 65 baby deaths examined, 45 could have had a different outcome if nationally recognised standards of care had been provided.

When looking at 33 of these 45 cases, the outcome would reasonably expected to have been different, while in a further 12 cases it might have been different.

Meanwhile, in 17 cases of brain damage, 12 (72% of cases) could have had a different outcome if good care had been given, of which nine should reasonably have been expected to have had a different outcome.

In nearly half of all cases examined by the panel, good care could have led to a different outcome for the families.

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