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Childbirth Failures Still Dominate NHS Compensation Bill

A new report has revealed that hundreds of babies are left brain-damaged each year in England because the NHS does not learn from its failures.

According to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), the number of compensation claims for cerebral palsy and brain damage sustained at birth has barely changed since 2006/07. Obstetrics claims account for 41% of the value of compensation claims for medical negligence against the NHS.

Case reports apparently reveal consistent failures in monitoring heartbeats during labour, missed warning signs, delays in delivery despite the warning signs, and unreasonable use of forceps.

“The NHS figures are clear and a change of culture is needed as a matter of urgency,” commented APIL president Jonathan Wheeler. “Whatever action is being taken currently to improve safety for expectant mothers and their children isn’t working well enough.”

“It is not acceptable that the NHS still harms around 200 new mothers and babies each year, particularly when it is down to errors which should not happen, but which continue to happen time after time,” he said.

“A severely disabled child needs round-the-clock care, adapted housing, wheelchairs and other equipment,” he added. “As adults they are unlikely to be able to work and support themselves, so compensation needs to support them for the rest of their lives, however long that may be.”

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