Can I make a birth negligence claim?

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Birth negligence claim update

Further concerns have been raised about maternity services at the Telford and Shrewsbury NHS Trust. Urgent action has now been implemented by the Care Quality Commission to ensure that standards improve. Failings revealed in the Care Quality Commission report published in 2017 include the fact that the maternity specific safety monitor was not utilised, and staff were not learning from serious past incidents.

Communication between maternity staff and the handover procedure were described as poor. Staff did not always have sufficient information regarding the patient and their current condition. This could potentially lead to mothers and babies suffering as labour progresses.

Birth negligence is a serious problem facing the NHS. NHS Improvement has stated that “over 20% of admissions of full term babies to neonatal units could be avoided” around the UK.

Can I make a birth negligence claim?

In order to make a birth negligence claim relating to birthing trauma, you must have suffered an injury (or demonstrable loss) as a result of sub-standard medical treatment being provided during your pregnancy or labour. Sub-standard medical treatment is treatment that falls below the “reasonable standard” of the medical practitioner.  In the worst case, this could result in the death of either mother or baby, or indeed both.

Time periods relevant to a birth negligence claim

In law, there are set time frames (which are called “limitation periods”) in which a birth negligence claim can be brought.

For a mother this period runs from 3 years from the date of the injury suffered, or 3 years from the date you  ought to have known of the failings which have caused you to suffer injury.

For babies and children the limitation period is longer. Limitation does not start to run until the child reaches the age of 18. Therefore, the limitation period in which a birth negligence claim may be brought on behalf of a child is 21 years.

How we can help you make a birth negligence claim

If you feel that you may have a birth negligence claim, please contact our specialist clinical negligence team, headed up by Oliver Thorne. Oliver has a great deal of experience in bringing birth negligence claims on behalf of both mothers and children nationwide. Please ring our helpline on 0800 955 1038 to obtain an initial free assessment to determine whether you could have a birth negligence claim. Alternatively, simply send brief details to us at