We welcome the Government’s initiative to offer parents whose babies have been injured at birth fast-track compensation without the need to bring a legal claim which can be a lengthy process and expensive for the NHS.
The NHS would make a payment even if there is no evidence of fault on the part of the hospital. In the long term, this would save money as a fifth of the maternity budget goes on covering clinical negligence cases. Damages are high in these cases as the injured child will often require lifetime care. The devil is in the detail but this is a positive development with great potential and we hope that it will become a reality.
We would also encourage the NHS to invest in more midwives (the RCM tell us that there is a shortage of 3,500 midwives) and in addition they should also ensure that there is a consultant present in every maternity ward at all times especially late at night and during the early hours of the morning when most mistakes happen leading to birth injuries.
Following an injury, the hospital should also carry out a thorough investigation and learn from any mistakes and ensure that these incidents won’t happen again the future.
We believe that with the introduction of a no fault scheme and the implementation of these further two measures, we would see considerable savings to the NHS maternity budget. It should be remembered that injuries to babies at childbirth have a catastrophic effect on both theirs and their family’s lives. If these cannot be avoided, then the families should receive sufficient compensation as soon as possible to avoid them having to bring a legal claim.