Monday, October 08, 2007

The tragic human cost of NHS baby blunders

Article in the Observer by Denis Campbell on Sunday September 23, 2007. Available from their website

Quote - "Errors and negligence that result in stillbirths or disabled babies are costing Britain's hospitals billions in compensation. In this investigation, The Observer reveals how staff shortages are wrecking the lives of countless parents "

This article lists a number of tragic cases where errors by medical staff have led to death or severe handicap to babies during birth. However, I can't see how the conclusion that these errors are caused by staff shortages has been made.

I am concerned that the NHS fails to learn from the mistakes that take place. It almost seems that they are expected to say that they need more staff, and are using these errors as a justification. This seems pretty bogus to me. Until the NHS starts to understand the root causes of error they will not be able to learn.

Another quote from the article - "The Department of Health insist that England has a good record on births. Gwyneth Lewis, the Department of Health's chief adviser on childbirth, says: 'Due to the skill and expertise of our midwives and doctors, England is one of the safest places to have a baby.'"

Perhaps it is a case that the principles of risk management do not apply in the medical profession.

Andy Brazier

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