NHS Belief pays out £94m in negligence claims that brought on cerebral palsy in kids – South London Information


Damning figures collected under Freedom of Information have exposed Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trusts as responsible for the second highest payouts for negligence leading to cerebral palsy cases in babies.

London’s NHS Trusts have paid a total of £898m over the past 10 years. Legal costs of £11.1m have also been paid in these cases.

It ranks second on a list of 18 health foundations in the capital that have had to pay an average of £3.4 per claim. Trusts with fewer than five claims against them are not on the NHS Resolution statistics list.

Only Barts Health NHS Trust has paid out more over the past decade with 34 cases costing nearly £117million.

The Trust said the number of incidents has declined in recent years and the current level is no longer above the national average.

Robert Rose, head of clinical negligence at Lime Solicitors, which obtained the figures, said: “One of the leading causes of cerebral palsy is hypoxic brain injury during birth, where a baby’s brain lacks oxygen.

“Sometimes this cannot be prevented or it cannot be determined what caused the child’s injuries.

“However, negligent errors by healthcare professionals can result in a child suffering hypoxic brain injury.

“Defects can include late delivery, birth injuries, lack of response to wrapping the umbilical cord around a baby’s neck, and lack of signs of fetal distress such as meconium.

“Our NHS is fantastic. While a healthcare system’s first duty is to do no harm, sometimes things go wrong and care falls short of medical standards.

“Clinical negligence claims play a critical role in protecting patients from negligent treatment.

With no available cure, cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that impairs movement and coordination.

Those living with this condition may face difficulties in moving, walking, and speaking, learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, hearing or vision loss, epilepsy, spinal deformities, and joint problems—requiring ongoing physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and medications.

Caring for and supporting a child with cerebral palsy can be extremely difficult physically, emotionally and financially, and many families cannot afford the expensive and basic equipment, caring support, education and housing adjustments needed to help their son or daughter to live a fulfilling life.

A spokeswoman for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: “We sincerely regret the suffering inflicted on the families affected.

“We review all cases of babies with brain injuries to identify immediate learning and have set up a fetal well-being team to monitor women in labour.

“More than half of the claims predate 2013, when the Trust was formed, and since then our hypoxic brain injury rates have steadily declined and are below the national average.”

Image above: With no available cure, cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that affects movement and coordination