Six serious but ‘unrelated’ incidents involving babies being investigated at Milton Keynes Hospital

Six serious but ‘unrelated’ incidents involving babies are being investigated by Milton Keynes University Hospital, a meeting heard.

By David Tooley, local democracy reporter
Thursday, 11th March 2021, 3:18 pm

Happily the hospital reports that the mothers and babies involved in the incidents are well and at home.

The incidents have been reported by staff in the maternity and neonatal departments over the last two months, the hospital trust board heard on Thursday morning (March 11).

Staff are encouraged to report incidents and the board meeting was told that they are subject to investigations.

Serious incidents involving babies reported

In all during January and February, 19 incidents were reported across the hospital with the largest number, six, involving babies.

The reports included one where a three day old baby was readmitted to the neonatal unit after a 14 per cent weight loss.

Others involved a mother suffering a major blood loss, a transfer to Great Ormond Street, and a home birth where there were “missed opportunities to support mother.”

Dr Ian Reckless, the hospital’s medical director, told the local democracy reporting service that the incidents are unrelated.

“There are no apparent links to any individual member of staff or team,” he said.

The hospital says that in three of the cases, the challenges of delivering care with reduced face-to-face contact on account of covid-19 may have partially contributed to a failure to follow to the letter an element of its relevant protocol for dealing with complex cases.

A statement added: “The patients and families involved in these incidents are all aware that they have been reported as serious incidents, and receive copies of investigation reports, have the opportunity to meet clinicians to discuss what happened, and receive an apology for what went wrong during their care and what we are doing to prevent it happening again.”

The health service across the country is on alert following the Ockenden report into baby deaths in Shropshire.

And Milton Keynes University Hospital is reporting back on what it is doing to the regional NHS.

A hospital statement said: “We welcome the recommendation of the recent Ockenden Report that serious incidents relating to maternity pathways should be discussed at trust board meetings held in public.”

Serious incidents are defined as “events in healthcare where there is the potential for learning or the consequences to patients, families, carers, staff or organisations are so significant that they warrant using additional resources to mount a comprehensive response.”

In the previous 12 months the hospital has reported 91 serious incidents across all its functions. The highest number, 22, involved pressure ulcers.

The hospital board was told that the trust has a policy of openness when it comes to encouraging staff to report incidents.

Serious incidents represent a small proportion of incidents reported by staff themselves, but most of them, the hospital says, involve “little or no harm”.