The government are currently consulting on a potential shift to a rapid resolution and redress scheme for severe avoidable birth injury. Such an initiative was recommended by the recent National Maternity Review (Better Births, 2016), based on feedback from families and health care professionals.
Here’s why I think it’s a good idea:
- The current system often requires lengthy and adversarial court proceedings in order for families to receive compensation. Litigation is the last thing parents need when their child has been injured.
- Families have to prove negligence in order to get the financial support they need to care for their child. This is often directed at an individual, when we know that most problems are systemic in nature.
- Local investigations mean learning is only disseminated at Trust-level. The nation-wide scheme would include a national database to identify learning which can be disseminated.
Globally, we need systems based upon relationship and response, care and mutual responsibility — and not just in maternity. A shift from adversarial litigation to collective responsibility in a rapid resolution and redress scheme is a step in the right direction.