Wynter Andrews: Trust failed in care of baby who died after 23 minutes

A hospital trust has pleaded guilty to care failures after the death of a baby in Nottingham.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) prosecuted Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust over the death of Wynter Andrews.

Wynter died 23 minutes after she was born by Caesarean section in September 2019 at the Queen’s Medical Centre. 

The criminal prosecution is one of only two the CQC has brought against an NHS maternity unit.

The trust entered its pleas at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and will be sentenced at the same court on Friday.

An inquest in 2020 found Wynter died from hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy – a loss of oxygen flow to the brain – which could have been prevented had staff delivered her earlier.

The court heard the CQC brought the charges after the trust’s mistakes meant Wynter and her mother Sarah Andrews did not receive safe care and treatment in its maternity services.

The first of the two charges relate to the trust’s failures in Sarah’s care, while the other is for its failures in Wynter’s care.

The court was told a specialist obstetrician, commissioned by the CQC, raised a number of concerns in relation to Mrs Andrews’s care.

Concerns should have been noted earlier by midwives on the day of Wynter’s birth, he said, and the court heard the eventual birth took place past the 60-minute Caesarean section target set by the NHS.

The expert added there were issues with the systems and training used by the trust.

Analysis

By Rob Sissons, BBC East Midlands Today health correspondent

The CQC has the power to prosecute health and social care providers across England.

Since it was formed in 2009, it has mounted 85 criminal prosecutions, but only six of those have previously involved NHS trusts.

In 2021, East Kent NHS Trust was fined £733,000 for failures in the case of Harry Richford, a baby boy who died seven days after an emergency hospital delivery.

Prosecutions draw the public’s attention to serious failings but they don’t bring individual accountability.

The fines involve public money and they are set at a level with this in mind.

The trust’s maternity units have been rated inadequate since an inspection in 2020.

It is also the subject of a wider review by midwife Donna Ockenden, which started in September.

The trust said in June it did not intend to contest the prosecution.

It said there had been a lack of adequate processes and systems to ensure staff managed all risks to patients’ health and wellbeing.

Medical director Keith Girling said at the time: “We accept the findings of the CQC in relation to Wynter Andrews.

“It’s an awful case for which we are very sorry.

“We let the Andrews family down and we didn’t give the care that we should’ve done. We recognise that the things the CQC found were right and we accept.”

SOURCE: BBC

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