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More than £3bn paid out in maternity claims

29th October 2012

A report has found that between 2000-2010, the NHS paid out over £3 billion in compensation for legal claims relating to maternity treatment.

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The report by the NHS Litigation Authority showed that less than one in 1,000 births were claimed for, but said more senior staff should be available and training needed to be improved.

The data showed that out of 5.5 million births, 5,087 claims were made against the NHS. The health service pays out more for maternity claims than it does for any other type of care. 

The chief executive of the NHS Litigation Authority, Catherine Dixon, said: "Having a baby while under the care of NHS doctors and midwives remains very safe.

"However, because maternity claims are so serious as they involve harm to mothers and their babies, it's vital that we learn and share lessons from them so that professionals can improve their clinical practice in the future and prevent harm."

Dr Dan Poulter, health services minister for England, said: "The NHS remains one of the safest places in the world to have a baby, but no matter how well our midwives and doctors look after women giving birth, bad things still sometimes happen to a very small number of mothers and babies."

"If these incidents hadn't happened in the first place, the NHS would have had £3 billion more to spend on patient care over the past 10 years." 

 

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