report has been prepared based on Ten Years of Maternity Claims and Analysis of NHS Litigation Authority Data which analyses maternity claims reported to the NHS LA as at 1 April 2010.

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NHS Litigation Authority consider Claims Report

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Analysis of the data revealed that there are three main areas of concern which account for 70% of the total value of claims:

1. mistakes in cardiotocograph (CTG) interpretation
2. mistakes in the management of labour
3. claims where the baby suffered cerebral palsy.

There were 542 claims for cerebral palsy during the period covered by the report, with a total value of £1.3 bn. The NHSLA are collaborating with the Department of Health and other professionals to ensure that NHS Clinicians are aware of the report so that steps can be put into place to reduce such claims.

RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick said: 'The biggest issue behind these claims is that most of the lessons to be learned from them are not new. It is tragic that the same problems reoccur in our maternity services year-on-year'.

Steps that have been suggested to help reduce claims are:

 Minimum staffing standard on maternity units
 Ensuring high quality assessment of women, good communication, team working and one-to-one care in labour are key components of safe care.
 Protected multidisciplinary training

It is reassuring to read that these reports are taken so seriously. I hope that resources can be made available to ensure that the suggestions to improve services can be put in place.

Patricia Wakeford
Clinical Negligence team

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