An NHS trust has been fined £800,000 after admitting failures in the care of a mother and her baby, who died 23 minutes after being born.
Wynter Sophia Andrews died in the arms of her parents, Sarah and Gary Andrews, on September 15 2019 due to a lack of oxygen to the brain, shortly after an emergency Caesarean section.
At a hearing at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust, which runs the hospitals, pleaded guilty to two charges relating to Wynter and Mrs Andrews of being a registered person who failed to provide care or treatment in a safe way resulting in harm or loss, in what is the first time the trust has ever been criminally prosecuted.
Passing sentence, which could have been a maximum of an unlimited fine, on Friday, District Judge Grace Leong said there were “systematic failures” in their care.
She said: “The catalogue of failings and errors exposed Mrs Andrews and her baby to a significant risk of harm which was avoidable, and such errors ultimately resulted in the death of Wynter and post-traumatic stress for Mrs Andrews and Mr Andrews.
“My assessment is that the level of culpability is high, where offences on Wynter and Mrs Andrews are concerned.
“There were systems in place, but there were so many procedures and practices where guidance was not followed or adhered to or implemented.”
The judge said that the full fine after a trial, combining the totals for offences against both Wynter and Mrs Andrews, would have been £1.2 million, but this was reduced to £800,000 due to the trust’s early guilty pleas.
It will also pay prosecution costs of £13,668.65 and a victim surcharge of £181, with Bernard Thorogood, mitigating on its behalf, asking for two years to pay the sum.
Outside the court on Wednesday, Mrs Andrews said in a statement that her daughter and family had been “failed in the most cruel way” and urged other mothers who may have been through similar experiences to take part in the Ockenden Review, a wide-ranging investigation into multiple failures in maternity care across the NUH trust.
The trust accepted wrongdoing to the CQC several months prior to Wednesday’s court hearing, with chief executive Anthony May reiterating its apology.
In a statement, he said: “We are truly sorry for the pain and grief that we caused Mr and Mrs Andrews due to failings in the maternity care we provided.
“We let them down at what should have been a joyous time in their lives.”
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