Calls for ‘urgent action’ at Jessop Wing after five mums die on Sheffield maternity unit

Lawyers representing the families of mothers who died or were injured under the care of Sheffield’s Jessop Wing maternity hospital are supporting the need for urgent action after the unit’s services were classed as ‘inadequate’ by a health watchdog.

By Lloyd Bent
Thursday, 10th June 2021, 12:12 pm

The Star reported yesterday that the Care Quality Commission has downgraded services at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Jessop Wing from ‘outstanding’ amid fears for the safety of mothers and babies.

Among the many issues, the CQC raised concerns around a shortage of midwives on wards and the Trust not properly learning from safety incidents.

Nurses in the accident and emergency dept (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The Trust had reported five deaths of women between October 2019 and December 2020 but only three were reported as serious incidents and investigated. Issues around a lack of transparency were also flagged by inspectors.

Expert medical negligence lawyers at Sheffield based Irwin Mitchell have represented and continue to represent families affected by birth injuries at the Trust.

They are now calling on the Trust to ensure it upholds its pledge to improve safety.

Julianne Moore, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The CQC findings, particularly around deaths not being reported as serious incidents and investigated as well as lessons not being learned, are obviously very concerning.

Julianne Moore, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell

“Sadly through our work we too often see the catastrophic consequences families are left to face following failings in maternity care.

“The safety of patients should always be the fundamental priority. However, sadly when mistakes do happen it’s vital that these are thoroughly investigated and lessons learned. Transparency is key to upholding public confidence in the health service.

“While we welcome the Trust’s pledge to take action it’s imperative this action is meaningful and decisive to improve patient care.”

The CQC carried out an unannounced inspection at the Jessop Wing, where around 6,200 babies are born a year, in March.

Before the inspection the CQC said it had been informed of five maternal deaths, however, only three had been reported on a dedicated national system, and investigate as serious incidents.

Overall there had been 13 serious incidents reported by the Trust between June 2019 and December 2020.

The Trust said it has wasted ‘no time’ in addressing the issues raised.