Following campaigning from Group B Strep Support, NHS Resolution (the body that handles clinical negligence claims in England) has introduced a series of new learning codes to its claims management system to improve the identification of injuries suffered by babies around birth and in the early months of life.
The new learning codes, which went live on 1 April 2020, include for the first time an injury code for group B Strep infection – which is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies.
“The new learning codes are designed to increase data accuracy and improve the safety of maternal and neonatal care in the future. The codes will help us to work with NHS trusts to monitor the level of claims, identify trends and highlight learning themes to inform future work that will drive improvements.”Denise Chaffer, Director of Safety and Learning at NHS Resolution.
“Strep B infections can have a devastating impact on mothers and their newborns, and can be entirely preventable. These new learning codes will provide valuable insight into what more can be done, as we strive to make the NHS the safest place in the world to give birth. Alongside this improved data, we are already funding a large-scale clinical trial to understand whether universal screening for Group B Strep can save the lives of more babies.”Minister for Patient Safety Nadine Dorries
Group B Strep Support published the report, The cost of group B Strep infection, in 2018 which found that GBS clinical negligence represents a significant burden to families and their babies, emotionally and financially. Since data on GBS clinical negligence claims were not collected by NHS Resolution at that time, our best estimate was that clinical negligence claims relating to group B Strep cost the NHS in England around £10 million a year.
This new code is a real step forward since it will help the NHS to understand the true burden of group B Strep clinical negligence claims, both how many they are, and how expensive they are to the NHS.
If your baby has been affected by group B Strep infection, and you believe there may have been negligence, you may want to contact any of the charity’s expert Legal Panel.
“This is a real step forward in understanding the true burden of group B Strep clinical negligence claims. These codes will mean we can gain more insight into common themes in claims. This will help NHS Trusts share learning to improve prevention so that fewer families suffer the devastation that Strep B can bring.”
— Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive, Group B Strep Support