East Kent NHS Trust maternity services under review

26 Feb 2020 | Stephanie Prior
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An inquest held in January concluded that the death of baby Harry Richford at a hospital in Margate in 2017 was “wholly avoidable”. Since then, a number of neonatal deaths at East Kent NHS Foundation Trust have been revealed, with several thought to have been avoidable – a harrowing truth for the families that have lost their children.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) is investigating 26 maternity incidents at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, the oldest dating back to 2011.

East Kent Foundation Trust

The concern regarding East Kent Hospitals is so great that it has now been confirmed that NHS England will commission its own independent inquiry into their maternity care.

There has been widespread media coverage in relation to the neonatal deaths at this particular Trust.

Regrettably, I am involved in several cases that reflect poor maternity care in several Trusts in and around London. Whilst the attention is now focused on the East Kent NHS Trust, more needs to be done by NHS England to ensure that all Trusts are operating with adequately trained staff who are well supported and implementing good practices to avoid further tragedies in maternity cases.

Maternity safety in England

Promisingly, HSIB also announced this week that it is launching a national investigation into maternity safety across England. This reflects the fact that maternity safety is a concern nationwide, and it is to be hoped that this investigation together with the investigation into the care provided by East Kent NHS Trust, can lead to improvements in patient safety and prevent avoidable maternity safety incidents in future.

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