‘We must end the maternity care postcode lottery’ BBK backs calls for inquiry | Bolt Burdon Kemp ‘We must end the maternity care postcode lottery’ BBK backs calls for inquiry | Bolt Burdon Kemp

Find lawyer icon
Find your Lawyer

Free call back
Contact us
Round the clock support
Won't shy away from difficult cases
Committed to swiftly progressing claims

‘We must end the maternity care postcode lottery’ BBK backs calls for inquiry

Mothers and their babies have needlessly come to significant harm or tragically died due to substandard care in too many hospitals in the UK. There have been multiple high-profile maternity scandals: Shrewsbury, East Kent, Northwick Park, Morecambe Bay and Nottingham to name but a few.

It is just frustrating to see thatinstead of investigating whether there are deep rooted institutional problems within maternity care as a whole in the NHS across the country, there is a ‘whack-a-mole’ approach of investigating and opening inquiries into individual trusts.

It is not working.

As medical negligence solicitors we see families facing similar challenges time and again, so Bolt Burdon Kemp is supporting calls from the Maternity Safety Alliance for a national inquiry into maternity care.

Currently 65% of maternity services are classed as inadequate or require improvement for safety. And scandals are continuing to come to light, with Leicester’s maternity units the latest to face calls for an investigation. It does seem that these maternity scandals are not a one-off.

There are four key themes we continue to see across our medical negligence maternity cases:

Consent: In many of our client’s cases, there are failures to properly explain to women what their choices are, or what is about to happen to them.

We know this can have a significant impact on mothers and their birthing experience and can contribute to birth trauma cases.

Informed consent is a key pillar of medical ethics for doctors and it is unacceptable that for maternity care this does not seem to be prioritised.

Care for mothers, post-birth: Whilst there is understandably a focus on the baby’s health post-birth, many mothers tell us they did not get any support or guidance about their own health after giving birth. This is especially concerning for mothers who have had traumatic or complex births.

The lack of support often leads to further complications down the line. For example, we frequently hear from women complaining of severe pain or who feel there is something wrong after their C-section surgery, which is then dismissed by their medical advisors, leading to more serious problems developing such as sepsis from bowel perforations.

Push for natural birth: The NHS removed the quotas for C-sections in 2022, however, the culture and the attitudes created by these quotas still seemingly appear engrained for many medical professionals in the NHS.

The continued bias towards natural births is causing harm to mothers and their babies. In 2015 an investigation into University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation trust found the pursuit of natural childbirth ‘at any cost’ had contributed to the death of 11 babies.

Dame Donna Ockenden’s report into maternity care at Shrewbsury and Telford NHS Trust, found similar concerns that a focus on natural childbirth put women in danger.

Women’s concerns about their bodies being repeatedly disregarded: Across our cases there is a common theme of women’s pain and concerns being disregarded. We have seen women who have been sent home following childbirth, only to return later with a breakdown in their inadequately performed perineal repair.

These women report they were told the pain and incontinence they were experiencing were normal following childbirth. It is only when these women could not function at home that they sought help. By that point, corrective treatment is less successful, and they have been left managing permanent, avoidable (or more severe than would have otherwise been the case) injuries.

Improvements to maternity care are well overdue. We must ensure we end the postcode lottery of maternity services. Therefore, we have been supporting calls from the Maternity Safety Alliance for a national inquiry into maternity care.

The Government needs to urgently open this inquiry to stop any more needless death or injury of mothers and babies.

Some of Our Accreditations

See more of our accreditations

We’re here to help you.

Want to talk to one of our experienced lawyers? We can call when it suits you for a no-obligation, strictly confidential chat.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser.

This site (and many others) provides a limited experience on unsupported browsers and not all functionality will work correctly or look its best.