The current stream of news highlighting serious issues in maternity services in England and Wales is a real worry for those planning to start or grow their family.
What began as a seemingly isolated issue when the Morecambe Bay maternity scandal was exposed in 2015, has since transpired to be a more widespread and complex problem.
What happened in the Cwm Taf maternity services?
The Cwm Taf maternity services, delivered at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant and the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, were first exposed as unsafe by a consultant midwife in late 2018.
An independent review, conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives, identified that serious incidents in the Cwm Taf maternity services were not being properly recorded amidst a catalogue of other failings leading to avoidable stillbirths and catastrophic birth injuries.
The maternity services run by the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board were placed into special measures in May 2019.
This was a significant escalation and signalled the scale of the problem as the Welsh Government triggered its highest level of intervention.
It was reported that potentially preventable incidents dated as far back as 2010. The senior leadership team of the Cwm Taf maternity services continued to demonstrate little accountability.
The chief executive of the Cwm Taf maternity services, who had led the health board since 2011, was on sick leave shortly after the damning report was published, then resigned.
Families affected by a serious birth injury given a voice
The families who had suffered the loss of their baby or faced a life of caring for a child with wide ranging, and complex, needs as a result of the care provided by the Cwm Taf maternity services, now had a voice.
Repeated accounts were heard of families’ concerns being ignored by staff at the Cwm Taf maternity services. It was revealed that serious incident reports following significant incidents were not always carried out, or were conducted poorly. Stories were heard of mothers being treated with little compassion or care.
The significant harm caused to these families, and their children, was painfully evident.
After several years of inadequate medical care delivered by the Cwm Taf maternity services, affected families were being listened to and their substantial concerns taken seriously.
How many families have been affected by serious incidents in the Cwm Taf maternity services?
It is not clear how many families have been affected in total by either the potentially preventable death of their baby, or catastrophic injuries leading to complicated lifelong conditions such as cerebral palsy.
It was reported earlier this year that the ongoing independent review was considering around 160 cases. We believe that there are many more families who have been affected by avoidable incidents at the Cwm Taf maternity services.
The team of birth injury specialists at Diane Rostron are representing dozens of families following what we believe were preventable stillbirths, permanent birth injuries and neonatal deaths.
We have secured £multi-million compensation for children suffering with catastrophic injuries that occurred before, during or just after their birth while under the care of Cwm Taf maternity services.
We believe that there may be many more families who are yet to receive the justice that they deserve and the compensation that their child needs.
A catastrophic birth injury means that a child will have extensive, and lifelong, complex care needs. They are entitled to significant compensation to meet their needs if it is believed, and proved, it could have been avoided with better medical care.
Cwm Taf maternity services subject to an independent review
The Independent Maternity Services Oversight Panel (Insop) reported its first findings earlier this year which looked at incidents where mothers were injured while under the care of the Cwm Taf maternity services.
It found that in two thirds of the cases being reviewed, a different outcome would have been achieved had better medical care been provided.
The cases reviewed considered incidents where the mother had been admitted into intensive care. The first of three reviews echoed failings including:
- Not listening to mothers
- Poor leadership
- Failing to recognise and escalate serious circumstances
- Treatment that fell below expected standards leading to poor outcomes
The panel is due to report on two further reviews later this year looking at stillbirths and neonatal mortality and morbidity at the Cwm Taf maternity services.
Families affected by a potentially avoidable birth injury should not suffer in silence
It is essential for these reviews, and the other maternity investigations currently underway in hospitals in across England, to be thorough, honest, and transparent.
Lessons must be learned from these catastrophic medical errors made at the Cwm Taf maternity services to prevent more families from suffering unnecessarily.
Taking legal action will help support a child impacted by a serious birth injury
Compensation is set aside for incidents involving an avoidable birth injury. The children and families affected have a right to pursue justice.
For children who are living with catastrophic injuries such as brain damage following preventable errors including: failing to listen to a mother’s concerns; a failure to detect and respond to signs that the baby is in distress; and failing to intervene in a timely manner, compensation from the Cwm Taf maternity services will help to pay for the care, equipment, and adaptations that they need.
The law, as it stands, places the responsibility on the affected family to prove that the birth injury could have been prevented had the acceptable medical care been provided.
Families who have suffered in silence following potentially avoidable birth injuries while under the care of the Cwm Taf maternity services, deserve justice and the ability to meet their child’s extensive needs.
Our birth injury experts understand
Diane Rostron and her team specialise in birth injuries compensation. This complex area of law is contentious and the hospitals responsible for these alleged incidents defend any claims strongly.
Our team offers extensive expertise gained over a 25+ year period and offer an enviable track record of settling £multi-million claims – even when families have been let down by previous solicitors who simply could not uncover the evidence needed to secure the compensation that they are entitled to.
We have acted against the Cwm Taf maternity services for nearly 10 years representing families who have been significantly let down, ignored, and hurt.
We have won cases where the Cwm Taf maternity services have strongly denied any wrongdoing.
Our empathetic solicitors work with highly experienced specialist independent medical experts and barristers. We find every piece of evidence required to prove what families have known all along – that their baby should not have suffered any injuries.
We will talk you through the legal process of making a birth injury claim for compensation against the Cwm Taf maternity services. We will stand by your side every step of the way.
We are here to listen, and to help.