Birth Injury Complaints Procedures (NHS)
If you feel that you have been a victim of medical negligence during your pregnancy or the birth of your baby, then it is important that you voice your complaint to those in charge so that you can help make changes to the system. If you don't speak out, you can't make the change!
Birth injury complaints can be about specific injuries or trauma you or your baby suffered during your pregnancy and birth.
Injuries to the baby may include or result in:
Erb's Palsy (also known as Brachial Plexus Palsy and Klumpke's Palsy) as a direct result of a shoulder dystocia birth
Every year many women and their families feel dissatisfied with the level of care they have received from the NHS or indeed from their GP during their pregnancy, labour and birth.
If you or a member of your family believe you have suffered from medical negligence under the NHS then you can lodge a complaint against the hospital where you received your treatment, or against your primary care practitioner. There are a number of ways you can do this:
Make an Informal Complaint
If your complaint is minor, then you may feel it is appropriate to write or phone the hospital or practice where the problem occured. This can be a fairly quick way to ensure your voice is heard and acknowledged and requires little or no expertise. You may be happy to talk through the issues you have experienced with someone in authority. Afterwards you may feel reassured that your complaint has been taken seriously and that necessary action will be taken to ensure the problem does not recur.
Make a Formal Complaint
If you feel that your informal complaint has not resolved the issue, then you may feel it is time to take a more formal route. Again, you must complain directly to the hospital or medical practitioner against whom your grievance lies. You can do this either orally, or deliver it in a written form. Either way, a written record of your complaint will be noted by an appointed complaints manager.
If your complaint is against a specific GP, you will receive a written response within 10 working days. If your complainted is directed towards an NHS organisation, then you will receive a response within 20 working days.
If your complaint refers to medical negligence which occured at an NHS Foundation Trust, then the complaints procedure will be a little different. Each NHS Foundation Trust has its own specific complaints procedure, so you should contact the trust you hold responsible and enquire as to how best to go about making your complaint.
What Happens Next
After your complaint for medical negilgence has been received and responded to, if you are still unhappy, you can take your complaint to the Healthcare Commission who will undertake an independent case review. You can find out how to go about this by visiting the HealthCare Commission website.
In the event that the independent case review does not resolve your complaint, your next step may be to take your case to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. To find out what is involved, visit the Ombudsman website.
How to Get Help Making a Formal Birth Injury Complaint
If you are worried about how to make a complaint, or simply find the process intimidating, there are two bodies which exist to help you. PALS, the Patient and Liason Advice Service can provide you with information on how to go about making your complaint. They can also aid you in resolving any problems encountered along the way and will help you find appropriate support groups if required. All the advice and information they provide is free.
Another useful organisation is ICAS, the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service. This organisation offers support to individuals who are making a complaint against the NHS, including clinical negligence complaints. ICAS do not investigate any complaints but they can provide English interpreters if English is not your first language and they can also put you in touch with specific agencies which they feel may be useful to you.
Medical Negligence Compensation
If you have suffered from medical negligence resulting in birth trauma or birth injuries to yourself or your baby, you may be entitled to compensation. Although this may not be your primary concern, it may be necessary for you to take action against your NHS trust to help pay for on-going problems such as private treatment for specific injuries to yourself or your baby, counselling sessions, alterations to your living accommodation or to cover loss of earnings resulting from your injuries.
It is important that you find an appropriate experienced legal team who are qualified to help you in persuing your claim for compensation and who specialise in this area.
You should ask any potential team about their experience and success rate before agreeing to let them act on your behalf.
Check with The Law Society for a list of reputable birth injury solicitors.
Related Birth Injuries Articles
Treat Yourself to Me Time!
Or, if you're currently struggling with a busy lifestyle and the added demands of parenting, try our Perfect Relaxation for Parents mp3 - take time out for yourself and awaken refreshed and ready to face whatever life throws at you!
Also by BreastfeedingMums
Books We Love!
Write for Us
If you would like to contribute a pregnancy or breastfeeding poem, story or photos, or a miscarriage poem or story, just contact us and we'll add it to the site. Thanks.