East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has admitted failing to provide safe care and treatment for seven-day-old Harry Richford, who died in 2017, just seven days after an emergency delivery.
The prosecution by the Care Quality Commission followed an inquest in 2020, which found Harry's death was wholly avoidable and contributed to by neglect, with more than a dozen areas of concern in the care of Harry and his mother.
Lawyers for the East Kent Hospitals Trust pleaded guilty to the charge at Folkestone Magistrates Court, with the trust stating it had made "significant changes" and would "do everything we can to learn from this tragedy".
An independent review of maternity services at the trust is ongoing after a series of failings led to the deaths of up to 15 babies.
Partner and Solicitor, Endurance Arthur, co-head of our dedicated Medical Negligence team said “This was a landmark prosecution but at its heart was the tragic and avoidable loss of baby Harry Richford’s life at East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2017.”
“Harry’s grieving parents’ concerns about the standard of care he and his mother Sarah received were swept under carpet and they had to persist in a fight to get to the truth of the Trust’s failings. The Trust was more concerned about its reputation than improving standards of care but, as a result of the brave parents battle, neonatal deaths at the Trust have fallen by 55% since 2020 and still births have fallen by 20%.”
“The case not only demonstrates the importance of questioning standards of care when healthcare failings are suspected after tragic loss or severe injury occurs, it also sadly illustrates that a hospital Trust’s initial response to complaints about care may need further scrutiny.”
Sarah Richford, Harry’s mum said after the Trust admitted its guilt, “We've got some level of justice that means that although Harry's life was short, hopefully it's made a difference and that other babies won't die.”
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