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Complaints About Maternity Units in London up by a Quarter

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The number of families making complaints about maternity units inLondon has increased by up to a quarter within the last year.

It has been revealed that poor maternity care inLondon is costing the NHS £41 million a year in compensation. Complaints range from poor care to maternal death including cases in which children have been left with brain damage, cerebral palsy or developmental problems.

Payouts involving obstetric care account for almost half of all NHS compensation payouts inLondon. Nearly 300 legal cases were launched against maternity units over two thirds of London trusts in 2009-2010.  There was also a 24% rise in the number of actions brought against half of those trusts.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association campaign group said of the revelations, “If it’s a systems failure then something needs to be done about it, but if it’s because of staff shortages then this is incredibly worrying, especially as the NHS is facing making huge savings.”

In light of NHS reforms, Labour MP Margaret Hodge added, “The Government’s focus should be on improving care rather than letting hospitals sink or swim. These are shocking figures. NHS London, the Department of Health and the hospitals concerned must take responsibility and act.”

NHS London assured, “More than 130,000 babies were born in London last year, up 16 per cent over the past five years. The vast majority of births in London are happy, healthy occasions and we are working hard to tackle the small number of incidents where this is not the case.”

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