Chesterfield Royal Hospital paid out £5m in childbirth negligence claims in the last five years, figures show

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Chesterfield Royal Hospital has paid out over £5 million in negligence claims for childbirth and maternity failings in the last five years, new figures have revealed.

The figure – £5,337,453 excluding legal costs – is dwarfed by that of University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Trust, which paid out over £26 million.

There were 17 individual closed or settled claims at the Chesterfield trust and 39 at Derby and Burton between 20219-20 and 2022-23.

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Data obtained via Freedom of Information requests by Legal Expert shows that 117 childbirth and maternity clinical negligence claims and incidents were reported against the two trusts to NHS Resolution, which handles negligence cases on behalf of the health service.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital has paid out over £5 million in negligence claims for childbirth and maternity failings in the last five yearsChesterfield Royal Hospital has paid out over £5 million in negligence claims for childbirth and maternity failings in the last five years
Chesterfield Royal Hospital has paid out over £5 million in negligence claims for childbirth and maternity failings in the last five years

A spokesperson for Chesterfield Royal Hospital said: ”We recognise that there is always more we can do to improve, both proactively and when standards are not met.

"Furthermore, it is right that we respond appropriately as a Trust in terms of support or relevant awards of compensation, which is governed by NHS Resolution.”

Across the NHS there have been 484 claims and incidents relating to babies with brain damage and 342 relating to mother or baby deaths in the last five years.

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The research comes in the wake of the UK’s first-ever parliamentary inquiry into birth trauma earlier this year which heard harrowing evidence from 1,300 women.

Some said they were left in blood-soaked sheets while others said their children had suffered life-changing injuries due to medical negligence.

Clinical negligence claims and incidents across all NHS Trusts in the last five years include 484 relating to babies with brain damage, 471 stillbirths and 342 mother or baby deaths.

Of those claims settled, £980 million was spent on compensation for cerebral palsy-related claims and a further £600 million was paid out for claims pertaining to brain damage caused by obstetric negligence.

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The leading cause of negligence according to the claims and incidents reported to NHS Resolution during this time include failure or delay in treatment and diagnosis as well as failure to respond to abnormal fetal heart rate.

Earlier this year Conservative MP Theo Clarke and Labour MP Rosie Duffield co-chaired the UK’s first-ever parliamentary inquiry into birth trauma, calling for an overhaul of maternity and postnatal care after finding poor care is “all-too-frequently tolerated as normal.”

A key recommendation in its report was for a new maternity commissioner who would report directly to the prime minister, along with ensuring safe levels of staffing.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) would commission new research into the economic impact of birth trauma.

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But she added there was “much work to do to deliver on the findings of the report”.

According to NHS Resolution, maternity claims represent the highest value and second highest number of clinical negligence claims.

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