East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust is due before Folkestone Magistrates’ Court today (Monday 19 April) to respond to a prosecution brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
CQC is prosecuting the trust for alleged breaches of regulation 12 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. The charges are in relation to the avoidable death of seven day old Harry Richford at Margate’s QEQM Hospital in 2017.
The regulation relates to healthcare providers’ responsibility to ensure people receive safe care and treatment.
The inquest had heard of the “panic” after Harry was born by emergency Caesarean section during which his heartbeat kept dropping. Harry died seven days after his delivery from a condition caused by a lack of oxygen. An independent report said he might have survived had there not been a delay in resuscitation at his birth that caused irreversible brain damage.
Coroner Christopher Sutton-Mattocks agreed with that conclusion and said Harry and his parents had been ‘failed.’
There was also criticism of the hospital trust which had said Harry’s death was expected, resulting in his parents, Tom and Sarah Richford, from Birchington, having to fight for an inquest.
The couple were supported by North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale, who commended them for their ‘courage and quiet dignity.’
The troubled maternity service has been subject to a report by the Health and Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) which found recurrent patient safety risks at the Trust maternity sites at QEQM Margate and William Harvey Hospital and is subject to a review commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement into the maternity and neonatal services. The investigation is being led by Dr Bill Kirkup and is expected to cover the period since 2009. Dr Kirkup expects to report this year.
It is thought that as many as 200 families have now come forward to the review with concerns.