Labour Room Emergencies - Shoulder Dystocia

Is the Birth Injury Early Notification Scheme achieving its aim?

NHS Resolution launched the Early Notification Scheme, a national programme for the early reporting of infants born with a potential severe brain injury, on 1 April 2017... but is it achieving its aim?

Its stated aim is to:-“Support the stated government priorities to halve the rate of stillbirth, neonatal death and brain injury and improve the safety of maternity care while also responding to the needs to families where clinical negligence is identified including through early admissions of liability where appropriate. The scheme also aims to improve the experience for NHS staff by speeding up the legal process and rapidly sharing learning from avoidable harm.”

The report confirms that the scheme has already reduced the time taken from incident to investigation in some cases involving brain injuries at birth and has led to swift admissions of liability. However, there is still improvements to be made including:

  • All families need to be offered a full and open conversation about their care. Including an apology.
  • An independent package of support should be offered to all NHS staff to manage distress
  • Increase awareness of impacted fetal head and difficult delivery of the head at caesarean section including the techniques required for care.
  • Work with existing national programmes to improve the detection of maternal deterioration in labour, including monitoring and the implementation of evidence-based guidance in all birth settings
Written by:

Dr Rajiv Varma MB, FRCOG

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