New report reveals shockingly low levels of compliance with duty of candour and involving families in investigations

Published: 25 Sep 2019

NHS Resolution’s Early Notification Scheme Progress Report has found that only 77% of trusts had notified the family concerned that an incident had occurred even though they notified NHS Resolution of the incident. The Early Notification Scheme (ENS) is where NHS trusts have to report maternity incidents which meet the Each Baby Counts criteria – mainly brain damage to babies.

Worryingly, in only 30% of the cases was it evident that the family had been invited to be actively involved in the investigation. These are shocking statistics, and the fact this can happen even as part of an official scheme overseen by NHS Resolution is particularly worrying. We are seeking information about what NHS Resolution are doing about this including whether the Care Quality Commission have been notified of the apparent breaches of the duty of candour.

AvMA sees great potential in the Early Notification Scheme identifying avoidable harm earlier and reducing or avoiding the costs of litigation in these cases. However, it is vital that families who have experienced maternity incidents have access to independent advice and support as well as comprehensive information about how the scheme works plus legal representation where appropriate as early as possible. We are working with NHS Resolution and other patients’ organisations to address this.