Inspection and Regulation

08.02.19

Five pregnant women deaths in 18 months sparks Birmingham trust investigation

An NHS trust has launched an investigation into maternity deaths at a Birmingham hospital after five pregnant women have died in 18 months.

NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust (SWBH) will investigation the deaths, two of which have happened in the past four months.

The trust’s chief executive Toby Lewis revealed the investigation in order to “learn from these tragedies,” and said SWBH was keen to find improvements in not anticipating errors.

The hospital trust incorporates two main hospital sites but babies are delivered solely at City hospital in Birmingham as Sandwell General doesn’t have a maternity ward.

Mr Lewis said in a report to board members that the trust would carry out the investigation over the next two months, adding that the families of the mothers would be supported throughout.

The trust said further details of the deaths could not be disclosed as the investigations remain at an early stage.

Chief nurse Paula Gardner said she and Lewis would “commission external advice to support the trust and the maternity team to learn for the future” once the investigation was complete.

“It is always very sad when anyone dies in our care and we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of those affected.”

The maternity care at City Hospital is rated as ‘good’ by the CQC, but it found that a never event had occurred in relation to the maternity procedure.

Nicola Robinson, the trust’s risk and governance midwife manager, said on Twitter that “open honest and transparent reviews into adverse events in maternity and neonates are paramount.”

She stated that the Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch would support the process in the future and added that “learning is vital and needs to be shared.”

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