Sometimes things go wrong and nothing could have been done to prevent it. Sometimes that’s not true. Sometimes we can all learn from mistakes that have been made.
1. Finding out more about your baby’s GBS infection
If your baby developed a group B Strep infection, you may have questions about the care you and/or your baby received, particularly if you feel the infection could have been avoided. It is natural to want to understand better what happened. You should ask for (and are legally entitled to) a copy of your and your baby’s medical notes and will probably find it helpful to review them with the relevant health professionals so that they can explain what everything means. Health professionals have a “duty of candour” to their patients. This includes being open and transparent about what happened, and telling you about things that could have been done differently. You can read more about this here.
All babies born at term and admitted unexpectedly to the neonatal unit undergo review and a Serious Incident Report or “root cause analysis” (RCA) report is made. This report should be shared with you.
Your hospital may invite you to meet with a senior obstetrician (pregnancy specialist), midwife and/or paediatrician/neonatologist (specialist in looking after newborn babies). If they haven’t, you can choose to contact them and request such a meeting. If you’re not sure of the name of your obstetrician or your baby’s paediatrician, you can make your request via the PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Services), or to the Clinical Director for the service (maternity or neonatal or both). They have a duty ensure that your request is dealt with appropriately. It is very reasonable to ask for a meeting to explain what happened.
If you have any worries that the hospital’s health professionals are not giving you the full facts, you can ask for a report from a doctor from another hospital. This will usually be an obstetrician and/or neonatologist. The request is probably best made in writing to the Chief Executive of your Trust. Their contact details will be on the hospital website, or can be obtained from PALS.
2. Making a complaint about the NHS
If you want the NHS to investigate your situation, to give an apology, an explanation and/or assurances that it won’t happen to others, and are not sure this will happen following discussions, then putting your complaint in writing to them may be helpful. If the complaint is about the NHS, or a specific hospital or staff member, please follow this link.
3. Taking legal action
If you feel that things were not done properly, then you have the right to go to a solicitor and ask them to investigate on your behalf. Sometimes taking some form of legal action may be the right route. We know a number of firms of solicitors that have successfully dealt with cases relating to group B Strep infection- for more information, please follow this link. They will usually expect you to have already taken the steps described above to get as much information as possible, so that they can give you an opinion as to whether you might have a case which can be taken to Court. Legal processes are often very stressful for parents and can be expensive.
Unless a baby needs long-term care, many parents are satisfied with a proper explanation of what happened, and an apology for any mistakes made, especially if (as will happen in most cases) the baby makes a full recovery.
3. Making a complaint about Group B Strep Support
We try to provide a high quality service in all areas of our work. We aim to provide services in a way that is:
- helpful and polite
- efficient and timely
- accurate and appropriate
Sometimes things go wrong. If you have any criticisms, concerns or complaints about any of Group B Strep Support’s services, we are sorry. Please let us know so that we can put things right and improve our services for the future. To make a complaint about us, please follow this link.