AvMA Reaction to East Kent Maternity report

Published: 20 Oct 2022

Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA)  welcome the report of the inquiry led by Dr Bill Kirkup but expressed strong concerns about the state of England’s maternity services and renewed calls for urgent action to address concerns about safety.  Read full story>

AvMA chief executive Peter Walsh said:

“The report is  vindication for those women and families who suffered avoidable harm and whose concerns were initially ignored. We had the privilege of providing some advice and support to Derek Richford, whose grandson Harry died avoidably at East Kent and who was a large reason for this inquiry coming about. The report is clear and pulls no punches, as you would expect from Bill Kirkup. However, we are seeing the same themes as we saw at Shrewsbury and Telford and Morecambe Bay before that. Currently there is an investigation into grave problems at Nottingham’s maternity services, led by Donna Ockenden. 38% of maternity services in England are rated inadequate or requiring improvement, and the number of clinical negligence claims about maternity service has gone up by 20%.

The trail of lost or ruined lives is getting longer and longer, and yet in spite of report after report making damning conclusions and urgent recommendations, not enough is being done to improve safety. In my opinion, what urgently needs to happen is recruiting and retaining enough midwives and doctors, improving training, and changing the culture in maternity services. There is still a sense of tribalism between the professions, and a reluctance to always put safety first – even before mantras like ‘natural birth’.”