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Corporate manslaughter considered in maternity scandal involving 200 families

Posted on 24th May 2021 in Medical Negligence

Posted by

Simon Mansfield

Partner and Solicitor
Corporate manslaughter considered in maternity scandal involving 200 families

Last year Dr Bill Kirkup, the expert who led the investigation into maternity fallings at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, was called in to review the circumstances of maternity deaths at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust after the Independent revealed that many babies had died at the trust between 2014 and 2018, while more than100 others suffered brain damage during birth.

One such case, reported in April, was the death of eleven-day-old Harry Richford, who died in 2017, just seven days after an emergency delivery which led for the first time to the Care Quality Commission prosecuting an NHS trust over a safety failure in the clinical care of patients.

Following on from these earlier investigations, today, the Independent has revealed that the number of cases being investigated by the enquiry is now nearing 200, making it one of the worst maternity scandals in NHS history.

The paper has also revealed that officers in the serious crime directorate at Kent Police are investigating the issue and considering the possibility of bringing a charges related to corporate manslaughter and/or gross negligence manslaughter.


Partner and Solicitor, Simon Mansfield, from our Medical Negligence team commented:

“These new revelations are deeply concerning and the numbers involved are shocking. They demonstrate, once again, the importance of openness when mistakes are made in improving patient care.”

“Without openness lessons are not learned (as they tragically were not with the death of Harry Richford following a 2015 investigation by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) and deep seated and systemic issues develop, leading to more avoidable harm.”

“There can be no doubt that a lot of progress has been made to increase openness and improve patient safety in recent years, particularly in maternity services. However, events at this trust, as well as those at Morecambe Bay and Shrewsbury and Telford, and the recent Panorama investigation regarding unpublished patient safety reports, demonstrate that a lot of work does still need to be done to ensure that the NHS learns from serious mistakes in its past to prevent future families from suffering harm.”


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