Is Giving Birth a Postcode Lottery?
The Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians has reviewed more than half a million births within the NHS and has reported a significant variation in the standard of care provided to mothers and parents of babies.
Within areas of the NHS world leading care is available during the ante-natal stage, during the birth itself and the immediate after care, both within the hospital and also at home delivered by Community Midwives. The report has however highlighted care levels may not be consistently high across the England and Wales.
In my experience of dealing with medical negligence claims and complaints about medical care provided during pregnancies and births, it is clear that that variation can also take place within particular hospitals. There can be occasions where on the same day, mothers can have dramatically different experiences.
What is important is that mothers be made aware that they can ask to meet with a midwife to discuss their birth and to understand what happened, and why. This has been offered within the NHS for some time as it is acknowledged that this process can help mothers to overcome the trauma experienced during a difficult birth or where mistakes occur. This can often ease worries they may have regarding future pregnancies and births. Complaints can often arise and at the early stages of a baby’s life, parents can often feel they do not have the time or the strength to pursue matters. It is important, however, that concerns are raised so that hospitals and the individuals can learn from patient experience and improve the experience of other patients in the future.
A complaint is not always about a claim for compensation and it is very much an individual decision for the families involved as to whether that is a route they wish to take, and I will advise thoroughly on their options so that the best decision can be made for them as a family.