Report comment

Please fill in the form to report an unsuitable comment. Please state which comment is of concern and why. It will be sent to our moderator for review.


I'll repost here a comment I made in response to a very similar article, back in June 2017 ( The RCOG report referred to was obviously published at that time:

"Shouldn't their focus be on reducing the actual negligence, rather than just saying society can't afford it to pay proper compensation for it?

Only this week, the Royal College of Obstetricians published an analysis of all stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries that occurred during childbirth in 2015 (

RCOG looked at internal trust investigations into 1136 cases: 126 stillbirths during labour, 156 deaths and 854 who met the criteria for severe brain injury. Of the 1136 internal cases they looked at, only 727 allowed the assessors to actually form a view on the care provided.

Let that sink in: in over 400 cases of death or potential severe brain damage to babies, an internal investigation report into what happened was so poor (or hadn't even been done!), that an expert assessor couldn't assess the quality of care.

Of the 727 remaining cases where standard of care could be assessed from an internal review, they concluded that different care might have led to a different outcome in 76% of cases.

That's obviously not the same as saying that the care was negligent and appropriate care is likely, on balance, to have led to a better outcome. However, having read far too many of these internal reports myself in clinical negligence cases, it is clear that far too often the apparent driving force of the investigation is to exonerate the staff members involved and the Trust's procedures rather than genuinely looking at what went wrong and how care can be improved in the future.

Some back of envelope calculations:
1136 cases, of which 854 met criteria for severe brain injury.
76% of cases which could be reviewed showed outcome may have been better with different care. 76% of 854 is 649 babies.

Even assuming that only 1/4 of those cases involved negligent care which can be proved to be responsible for severe brain damage, that's still 162 cerebral palsy claims. At an average of £5m, that would be £810m.

Far more importantly, that's hundreds of babies and families which have been devastated by serious disability.

This of course applies to all other areas where the NHS and others are making mistakes.

NB - I think the NHS is one of, if not the best things we have in the UK. It does fantastic work the vast majority of the time. It needs proper funding though, and the culture in many trusts and departments is not an open and learning one. I don't suppose either of those points would be news to anyone."

Your details