A criminal prosecution will be brought against Nottingham University Hospitals Trust for the first time in its history after the death of baby Wynter Andrews.
Healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) announced it will prosecute the trust following an investigation which looked into the care of baby Wynter and her mum Sarah Andrews.
Wynter died 23 minutes after she was born at Nottingham Queen’s Medical Centre in 2019, in what was described by a coroner as “a clear and obvious case of neglect”.
The coroner added that “Sarah Andrews did not receive the care and attention that she clinically required”.
The Chief Executive of the trust, which runs the QMC and City Hospital said the trust was “deeply sorry” for failing the Andrews family.
Nationally, the CQC made 15 prosecutions in 2021 and 13 in 2020.
“We have now concluded our investigation into the care provided to a mother and her baby by Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust”, Fiona Allinson, CQC Director of Operations, Midlands Network, said.
She added: “As a result of that investigation we intend to prosecute the trust for its failure to provide safe care and treatment under Regulation 12(1) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 (RAR 2014) and will report further as soon as we are able to do so.”
Hundreds of parents have called for action at the trust following baby deaths, maternal injuries and millions of pounds paid out in compensation.
The organisation is now facing a wider inquiry by experienced midwife Donna Ockenden, who is expected to start her work in September.
A previous review was scrapped halfway through after around 100 families who had been harmed by incidents in the trust’s maternity units called for Ms Ockenden to take over.
The trust is rated overall as ‘requires improvement’ by the CQC and maternity is rated ‘inadequate’.
The CQC can prosecute using Regulation 12 “if a failure to meet the regulation results in avoidable harm to a person using the service or if a person using the service is exposed to significant risk of harm”.
The law allows for breaches which are proven in court to be punished with a fine as decided by a court judge.
As a government body, the CQC can bring about its own criminal prosecutions without involving the police.
Last year, East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust was fined a record £761,000 by the CQC over its failure to protect baby Harry Richford and his mum Sarah.
Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals Rupert Egginton said: “We are deeply sorry that we failed this family, and apologise unreservedly for the mistakes we made at the time.
“We have taken action to address the failings that led to this tragic loss and introduced a range of improvements designed to offer the best maternity care to families using our services.
“But we know there is a lot more work to do and are totally committed to supporting the work of Donna Ockenden’s review team, which alongside the work of our own improvement team, will ensure we do everything necessary to learn and improve.”
The trust added that improvements include enhanced training around foetal monitoring, a new 24/7 Maternity Advice Line and recruitment of additional medical staff.