East Kent Maternity Services – Dr Bill Kirkup Review

Dr Bill Kirkup review published today, 19th October 2022

After 15 babies died at a hospital in East Kent, an investigation was launched to understand what went wrong, examining up to 200 cases involving mothers and babies between 2009 – 2020. The report on this has now been published.

Read the full report >>

Following mistakes made in the delivery of Harry Hailligan in 2012, the trust was put into special measures and a report was filed. Sadly, the hospital failed to complete 21 of the 23 recommendations made in the safety review from 2016. Had these been implemented, it is thought that several babies lost since would have survived.

Victoria Gofton, our Legal Director in clinical negligence, commented: “Understaffing and poor supervision of junior medical staff are of course huge issues in maternity care. But one of the main problems in maternity services nationally is the failure to listen to expectant mothers and their families. Instead, we see an excess of medical paternalism, and an attitude of ‘we know what’s best for you as we’ve done this before’.

“The first steps for improvement should be placing patient care and safety at the heart of reform, and always listening to the concerns of women. For example, if a woman is worried about a natural birth and wants a C-Section, she should be allowed to have this, regardless of hospitals’ desire to keep C-Section stats low.

“This should go along with much better funding, and developing a culture of learning from mistakes, for both clinicians – midwives and obstetricians – and senior management – Trust Boards CEO and Chairs.”

Research conducted by our team shows that in the last decade, East Kent Hospitals Trust paid almost £30 million in damages for cerebral palsy claims and more than £500,000 for stillbirth claims.

Neil Clayton, our clinical negligence Partner, said: “There are still far too many failings in maternity care which I see in my work at Lime Solicitors. We must learn from these and fund maternity care properly. We’d avoid these tragedies and save the NHS lots of money if we got the care right in the first place.

“When will we see a different story? We must keep fighting for justice and change for babies and their families.”

Talk to our clinical negligence specialists

If you or a loved one have been affected by negligent maternity services, or negligence in another medical setting, we encourage you to get in touch with our team. You can call us free on 0808 164 0808 or request a call back, and we will contact you at a time that suits.