Almost one third of investigations into babies who die or are severely brain damaged at birth are of a poor quality.

A preliminary report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) investigates how fatal and catastrophic injuries sustained during labour are investigated.

Of the investigations reviewed by RCOG, 27% were deemed to be of a poor quality.

Experts also found that nearly three-quarters of investigations failed to involve the baby’s parents in a meaningful way.

The findings have been described by Health Minister Ben Gummer as “unacceptable”.

“Little justification for the poor quality of reviews”

Professor Alan Cameron, vice-president of RCOG, said: “When the outcome for parents is the devastating loss of a baby or a baby born with a severe brain injury, there can be little justification for the poor quality of reviews found.”

“The emotional cost of these events is immeasurable, and each case of disability costs the NHS around £7m in compensation to pay for the complex, lifelong support these children need.”

The report is part of the ‘Each Baby Counts’ programme, which aims to improve future care by learning from past mistakes.

It hopes to halve the number of baby deaths and catastrophic injuries by 2020.

In the UK in 2015, 655 babies suffered a severe brain injury at birth, despite being healthy before labour began. There were also 119 stillbirths and 147 neonatal deaths; again, all of whom were healthy before labour.

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