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Midwifery led units – are they safe?

Switalskis Clinical Negligence team will feature on Look North Yorkshire and BBC Radio Leeds today to discuss the risks and benefits of midwifery led maternity units.

Samantha Reid, who is a client of Switalskis, and her partner Dale Jones were invited to appear on Look North to talk about the tragic death of their son Theo at Pontefract Hospital in 2014. During the report Samantha explains how it took 23 minutes for the ambulance to arrive to take her to Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield and by that time baby Theo had passed away.

As a result of the legal investigations, Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust have admitted liability and apologised. The Trust admitted that “but for its failings, the tragic stillbirth of the claimant’s baby would have been avoided.”

Suzanne Munroe, Head of the Clinical Negligence team at Switalskis, noted “It’s important for Sam that there’s an acknowledgement that things should have been done differently.”

Suzanne Munroe also featured this morning on BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire show to discuss the decision making behind caring for patients at midwifery led units. The discussion touched on issues such as the importance for patients of midwifery led units to have quick access to emergency hospital care if they need it.

Suzanne said: “My concern as a lawyer is the fact that there are minutes…between a baby being brain damaged or tragically, a baby dying.” She went on to explain that in a hospital setting, the time from identifying a distressed baby, to theatre, is much quicker than in a midwifery led unit, where the patient will need to be taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital.

The important thing to consider is that every second counts when a baby is in distress.

If you believe your child has suffered an injury or died as a result of a delay in treatment during their birth, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01484 825 200 and a member of our Clinical Negligence team will be happy to discuss the matter with you.

Please see the below links for further details of this story:

BBC News article “Pontefract Hospital failings led to boy’s stillbirth”: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-36197512

Suzanne Munroe interview on Victoria Derbyshire’s BBC 2 programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b079cbcw/victoria-derbyshire-05052016

Suzanne Munroe

Suzanne is a Solicitor who heads up our Medical Negligence team and is also a Director of Switalskis. She joined Switalskis in 2013 and has specialised in Medical Negligence for most of her career. Suzanne is a nationally-recognised birth injury lawyer. Suzanne's profile