Nottingham University Hospitals Trust boss Anthony May apologised to the parents of baby Wynter Andrews after a court heard about a succession of shocking failings over the care of Wynter and her mum. After a fine of £800,000 was decided by a judge over the failings, Chief Executive Anthony May issued a statement.
He attended the sentencing hearing before Nottingham Magistrates' Court, after NUH pleaded guilty to charges brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 for failure to provide safe maternity care and treatment to Sarah Andrews and her daughter Wynter, who sadly died in 2019.
In addition to the fine, NUH must pay costs of £13,668.65 and a £181 victim surcharge.
Read more: 'We are not the only family harmed by the Trust's failings', says mum Sarah Andrews
Mr May said: “I am truly sorry for the pain and grief that we caused Mr and Mrs Andrews due to failings in the maternity care we provided. These were serious failings that led to the worst possible outcome and we let them down at what should have been a joyous time in their lives.
“I want to pay tribute to Mr and Mrs Andrews, who have shown incredible courage during this process despite the fact that it has brought additional pain and suffering. On Wednesday we pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility for the findings of the CQC and today we accept, in full, the sentence of the court.
“While words will never be enough, I can assure our communities that staff across NUH are committed to providing good quality care every day and we are working hard to make the necessary improvements, including engaging fully and openly with Donna Ockenden and her team on their ongoing independent review into our maternity services.”
A statement from Gary and Sarah Andrews read: “Today’s sentencing hearing has demonstrated the seriousness of the Trust’s failings towards Wynter and I. These criminal proceedings are designed to act as a punishment and a deterrent. No financial penalty will ever bring Wynter back.
"We thank the judge and recognise the delicate balance she made to impose this significant fine, which we hope sends a clear message to the Trust Managers that they must hold patient safety in the highest regard.
"Sadly, we are not the only family harmed by the Trust’s failings. We feel that this sentence isn’t just for Wynter, but it’s for all the babies who have gone before and after her.”
Since Wynter’s death, NUH has implemented a number of changes to its maternity services, including:
- Improved access to clinical guidelines with the introduction of the Pocket Pal app for maternity staff and aligned Trust guidelines with national recommendations where available
- Implemented BadgerNet, a maternity digital clinical system to support seamless care across all parts of the pregnancy pathway
- Investment in staff training for obstetric emergencies, foetal heartbeat monitoring and human factors
- Investment in equipment, including foetal heartbeat monitoring machines and devices to measure jaundice in babies
- Introduced foetal monitoring leads for midwifery and obstetrics, tasked with supporting the team to follow best practice
- Strengthened the senior clinical team, appointing more consultant obstetricians and providing better cover across our two hospitals
- Ongoing recruitment of midwives, including from overseas and the appointment of two heads of midwifery
- Focus on retaining midwives, offering the option to work flexibly to suit their needs
- Introduced a flow coordinator role to support the maternity service 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Separating our emergency and routine assessments at both hospitals, leading to over 90% of our women and families being seen in triage within 15 minutes
- Launched a 24/7 Maternity Advice Line, so anyone using our service can speak to a dedicated midwife about any concerns before or after birth
- Ongoing improvement of our staff feedback service and encouraging colleagues to raise any concerns through our Freedom to Speak Up Guardians and through other channels
- Improving record-keeping, including the assessment of risks and handovers between midwives and medical staff
- Developed a comprehensive Maternity Improvement Programme, overseen by the Maternity Oversight Committee, led by one of our Non-Executive Directors
- Developed a maternity dashboard to identify themes and trends in activity, clinical incidents and staffing to ensure better oversight of the service
If women and families currently accessing maternity services at NUH have any concerns or questions about their care, please talk to your midwife or consultant.
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