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The Guardian has reported that the NHS is facing an ever increasing compensation bill for mistakes made by maternity-unit staff which result in a baby dying or suffering brain damage or a disability.

Doctors and safety campaigners are fighting for urgent action to stop the recurring mistakes that lead to a preventable tragedy.  The compensation is being claimed for the failure of obstetricians or midwives misinterpreting a cardiotocogram scan of a baby’s heart rate.  Midwives and obstetricians need better training to avoid mis-reading the scans.  Sadly around 500 babies are thought to die every year with many more suffering brain damage. 

It is thought that the level of compensation is increasing due to the fact that there is not improved knowledge of a brain-damaged baby’s lifetime care needs. 

The NHS Litigation Authority reports that the amount of compensation paid out has risen from £11.8 million in 2006 to £85.8 million last year.   Between 2006 and 2010 the NHS Litigation Authority has paid out over £196.8 million in compensation. 

I was very surprised to read that mistakes like this are still happening in a developed country and I hope that the NHS try and tackle his problem head on.  It is not only a waste of money but also a needless waste of lives.


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