January 14, 2022
More than £ 100 million has been paid out for damage caused by one hospital trust more than 10 years after its maternity units were accused of being responsible for dozens of deaths and deaths, Channel 4 News can reveal.
From April 2010 to March 2021, £ 103,097,198 was paid out by the Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust with 176 maternity claims, according to NHS resolution figures obtained through a request for freedom of information.
Of those claims against the trust, 36 related to mothers and dying children, 27 referred to stillbirths and 55 concerned infants born with brain damage or cerebral palsy.
Gabriela Pintilie died at Basildon University Hospital, which is managed by the trust, in 2019 after losing six liters of blood at birth, and a peer said there were “serious shortcomings” in her care.
Her husband Ionel said, “How many lives of other families have been destroyed?”
A spokeswoman for the trust said she was sympathetic to Mrs Pintilie’s family, adding that the matter had been fully investigated and that they had made improvements to their services in recent years.
‘My staff cultures’
The maternity ward at Basildon University Hospital was twice rated as inadequate in 2020, after two separate inspections, with a report saying the service “did not always have enough staff to keep women safe”.
The report also criticized “long-standing bad staff culture” that had “created an ineffective team”.
In August 2020, the Commission on Health Quality (CQC) issued a warning to the hospital, as inspectors found six serious incidents between March and April that year in which babies were born in a poor state starved for oxygen and the risk of brain damage .
Baby Ronnie was stillborn in June 2020 at Basildon University Hospital.
Ronnie’s mother Connie Copperthwaite-Jackson says that towards the end of her pregnancy she “knew something was wrong”, adding: “I just wish someone had listened to me because … I think he’s here today would still be. “
An internal hospital report after Ronnie’s death found that he died of hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, presumably because her placenta had been broken off or pulled from the wall of the uterus, it says.
The report also highlighted missed opportunities to detect possible preeclampsia during Connie’s pregnancy, a condition that causes the mother’s blood pressure to rise, sometimes dangerously high.
Last month, the CQC upgraded the trust’s assessment to “requires improvement”, but again, staffing issues were mentioned in the report.
Over the past six years, we have received a number of reports of shortcomings in maternity care, including; the Kirkup Report in 2015, which detailed failures in care at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust; the Ockenden report on shortcomings in maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust in 2020; and later this year there is a further Kirkup report detailing further failures in care in East Kent Maternity services.
Last year, a joint investigation by Channel 4 News and The Independent found that dozens of babies were left with brain damage or died over a 10-year period in Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust maternity units.
A spokesman for the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to both the families of Gabriela Pintilie and Ronnie Sullivan – both cases have been fully investigated as serious incidents and we have made sure the Trust has learned and remains to learn from these events.
“In recent years, we have made improvements to our maternity services, including recruiting 40 newly qualified midwives, a consultant midwife, practice development midwives and maternity care assistants and securing nearly £ 2 million in funding for the further recruitment and development of staff. ”
Producer: Gracie Jerome
Written by Calum Fraser.
Drone footage provided by helidronesurveys.co.uk