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06.06.16

NHS could pay parents compensation for avoidable harm in childbirth

Parents could receive compensation from the NHS if their baby suffers avoidable harm due to failings in maternity care under new proposals.

In a blog post for the NHS, Baroness Julia Cumberlege, leader of the National Maternity Review, said that she and Professor Sir Cyril Chantler, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Health Group, have been meeting with NHS England and the Department of Health to discuss implementing a Rapid Resolution and Redress Scheme.

“We could give parents not only a quicker settlement, compensation to manage their baby’s future, but a degree of peace of mind,” she said.

She added that the new scheme would not deny parents their right to a legal settlement if they preferred, and would enable the NHS to learn more quickly from mistakes.

February’s National Maternity Review report said that more choice and support is needed to improve maternity care.

Baroness Cumberlege also said that, following the recommendations of the review, seven CCGs had been chosen to pilot a personalised maternity budget.

To further the recommendations of the report, the NHS has also created a Maternity Transformation Programme Board, chaired by Sarah-Jane Marsh and supported by a Maternity Transformation Council, with Baroness Cumberlege as chair and Sir Cyril as vice-chair.

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Comments

Pauline Hull   07/06/2016 at 04:39

The benefits of a planned caesarean birth are not consistently communicated to women during their antenatal care, and hospital policies to reduce overall caesarean rates have led to countless deaths and injuries before and during labour. NHS litigation costs for obstetrics are already in the billions of pounds paid and owed, and once more women realise that (for example) their babies' stillbirths and/or their own pelvic floor damage could have been avoided by a timely planned caesarean, these costs will only continue to rise. Informed consent, balanced information and the removal of 'normal birth' ideology from antenatal communication is needed going forward. It is also worth noting that the 2011 NICE CG132 guideline estimated a mere £84 cost difference between a planned CD and a planned VD when just ONE downstream cost (urinary incontinence) was factored in, so the argument against allowing caesarean choice on the basis of cost is a flawed and exaggerated one.

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