All-Party Parliamentary Group report on Birth Trauma in the UK

This report was published on 13 May 2024.  It is hard to read and the personal testimonies are traumatic but, in my view, this is essential reading for any lawyer undertaking birth injury work.

For me, the sub heading to the report “Listen to Mums: Ending the Postcode Lottery on Perinatal Care” says it all.

Women are consistently reporting that their concerns throughout the perinatal period (the time from becoming pregnant up to one year post birth) are not heard and had they been listened to they would have felt more cared for, more in control of their perinatal experience and feel it was a positive experience.  In some cases, women feel that if their concerns had been listened to and acted upon, they would not have suffered traumatic births or injury either to themselves or their babies.

I was particularly interested to read that some women who gave birth as long ago as the 1970’s are still experiencing negative thoughts about their experience and that this does not seem to have improved hugely over the last 50 years.

Perhaps because I am a medical negligence lawyer it has always been evident to me that medical care can be a postcode lottery in England, but I was shocked to read how vastly the care differs between Trusts and, particularly, the way in which OASI (obstetric anal sphincter injury) is treated.  The way in which Trusts approach their OASI care in terms of prevention and treatment lacks continuity despite this being a common injury to a woman during labour.

Why should it be that there is no standard across NHS Trusts for perinatal / maternity care?

The report questions this, sets out the statistics and is clear where improvements can be made.  It calls for the UK Government to publish a National Maternity Improvement Strategy, led by a new Maternity Commissioner who will report the Prime Minister and will outline ways to improve the care received.

Our birth injury specialist, Liz Oaten says about the report “This report highlights the importance of getting maternity care right both for women, babies, families and the NHS. Birth injury claims have the potential to ruin lives not only for the families but also for the health care professionals involved. So many claims involve overstretched units and mother’s not being listened to. As one Obstetric expert once said to me -ignore the concerns of the mother at your peril, maternal instinct is so important as is regular training for staff.”

The medical negligence team at Lester Aldridge specialise in birth-related injuries to both mother and child. Birth injury cases are complex and require specific expertise. We will approach your case with experience, knowledge, and empathy. Understanding that it can be extremely difficult for you, as well as your partner, to talk about and relive your experience, we listen to you and support you through every step of the process. Our focus is on providing a personal and supportive service to achieve the best results, instructing recognised experts to maximise any damages award and getting answers to questions about what went wrong and why. We know that is just as important to you.

Contact

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