Pregnant mothers face postcode lottery every weekend

As the old poem goes, Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child is full of woe and Thursday’s child has far to go, but new statistics released today suggest that statistically, it is safer to give birth on a weekday than it is on a weekend.

The Sunday Times Safer Births campaign has provided us with vital information regarding hospital maternity units and consultant obstetricians. An investigation has confirmed that many hospitals have consultant obstetricians present for typically 11 hours a day Monday to Friday, and only three hours on a weekend.

Patients in Manchester rule the roost if giving birth at St Mary’s, with a consultant on wards 24/7, ensuring mothers-to-be have the same standard of care at weekends as on weekdays. Campaigners for safer childbirth say the practice of heavily reduced cover at weekends is dangerous.

The aforementioned investigation was sparked by the tragic death of a baby in Ipswich Hospital in 2015, which prompted a coroner to write to the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, asking her to review the presence of consultant obstetricians at high risk deliveries.

Baby Bonnie Strachan died when complications arose and the doctor who delivered Bonnie had very little experience of doing so. The complications resulted in Bonnie being starved of oxygen and died shortly after birth. Emma Strachan, Bonnie’s mother said ‘It was heart-breaking to hear at the inquest that the presence of a consultant at the time would have led to an earlier delivery and that Bonnie’s immediate prospects of survival would have been improved.’

It is sad to learn that an impromptu investigation undertaken by The Sunday Times Safer Births Campaign has brought to light such devastating findings.

If you have been affected by a shortage of staff able to deal with the birth of your baby, resulting in damage to your or your child, contact Michael Lewin Solicitors for free advice.

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