Research by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) gave a warning earlier this year that inconsistencies in maternity care throughout the country left some women 'not receiving the best possible care' and more likely to face complications in respect of their own health or for their child. This research has been welcomed as the first step towards improving maternity services throughout the country. However, despite these findings and the recommendations made, the Penningtons Manches' clinical negligence team continues to be instructed regularly by families who have lost children during pregnancy, birth or shortly afterwards.
Kay Taylor, a clinical negligence specialist in the firm's Godalming office, said: "We fully support the RCOG's recommendation that specialist-led care is paramount. Without this, many of the complications arising in labour are at risk of being managed poorly. It was only last year that the NHS Litigation Authority produced a 10 year report on maternity claims which highlighted the need for consultant-led care, an urgent increase in staffing and the need for better training. Further recommendations included the development of RCOG and NICE guidelines to support the provision of maternity services.
"Despite these findings, families often feel let down by the maternity services offered to them. On 15 October, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, our thoughts are with those parents who have suffered such a sad loss. When the loss arises as a result of poor care, the distress caused to the family must add to the heartbreak. For these families, compensation is immaterial but finding out exactly what went wrong often enables families to begin to come to terms with their loss. Many parents find the truth as well as an apology helpful. Penningtons Manches works alongside many baby loss and neonatal organisations and together we support families through this difficult time".