Maternity Negligence – Services in Northern Ireland Fading Away & Causing Alarm
The provision of adequate and accessible maternity services is essential for the health and wellbeing of mothers and their babies. Unfortunately, in Northern Ireland, recent developments have raised concerns surrounding the reduction of maternity services and the potential increase in medical negligence cases.
This worrying trend has left many families and expectant mothers feeling apprehensive, and in turn has sparked a debate about the state of healthcare services in Northern Ireland.
Over the past few years, Northern Ireland has seen a reduction in maternity services, with the closure of several units and the consolidation of services into larger hospitals. While streamlining services can be a strategy used to improve efficiency, there is no doubt that there are many valid concerns about the impact this has on patient care.
By concentrating services in fewer locations, there is an increased burden on the remaining facilities which can lead to overcrowding and resources being stretched. Furthermore, there are many expectant mothers who rely on their local maternity services as they do not have the facilities to travel – these mothers have essentially been stripped of their access to local health services as a result of the consolidation of services. These new implementations in turn, increase the risk of medical negligence and critical errors.
The consequences of medical negligence in maternity care can be fatal. Errors during pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal care can result in serious harm to both mothers and their babies. In many unfortunate cases, these errors can lead to long-term disabilities, physical injuries and even loss of life. The emotional toll this has on families is immeasurable as they face the anguish of knowing that preventable errors have impacted their lives forever.
One of the key issues contributing to medical negligence in pre and post-natal care is the staff shortages. As maternity services are reduced and units consolidated, healthcare professionals and treating clinicians ae put under immense pressure to handle an increased workload. This can lead to fatigue, burnout and a higher likelihood of clinical negligence caused by errors. Adequate staffing levels are crucial to ensure that each patient receives the attention and care they deserve throughout their pregnancy and childbirth journey.
There is also a rising concern regarding the limited availability of specialist services such as Neo-Natal Intensive Care Units. When complications arise during or post birth, access to NICU immediately is essential in order to mitigate risks and ensure the best possible outcome for mother and baby. However, the reduction of maternity services has resulted in fewer NICUs, making it more challenging for mothers and babies in critical condition to receive the appropriate care and treatment in a timely manner.
The reduction in maternity services in Northern Ireland and the subsequent increase in medical negligence claims is a cause for concern. We at P.A. Duffy & Co Solicitors based in Dungannon understand that dealing with medical negligence as a result of delayed maternity care can be a distressing and challenging experience. However, our dedicated and compassionate medical negligence team are here to support you every step of the way. Our experienced solicitors have a deep understanding of the complex legal aspects surrounding medical negligence pre and post birth and are committed to achieving results for our clients. Whether you or your baby have suffered as a result of the limited maternity services in Northern Ireland, please do not hesitate to get in touch, our team will be happy to help.