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Maternity and midwife complaints

The majority of NHS maternity procedures go smoothly for both mother and baby – however, the service still receives thousands of complaints each year about maternity wards, midwives, labour procedures and post-natal care.

Some of these complaints are fairly easy to resolve. Others, such as maternal injuries, infections, injuries to your baby such as cerebral palsy, or complications from pre-eclampsia can be more serious and need further investigation.

How to complain about maternity services

While resolving a medical complaint verbally is often preferable, if you’ve just given birth, you may not be in a position to do so.

Before you complain in writing, you should request a copy of your own medical records as well as your baby’s records.

It’s also important to understand why midwives and maternity nursing staff made the decisions they did in relation to your labour and your baby’s birth – after all, it may be that they had good reasons for their actions

However, if you still believe on reflection that your maternity treatment was negligent, you should make a complaint to the NHS through the normal complaints procedure.

Alternatively, if you believe that a midwife or nurse is endangering patient safety, you can also raise your concerns with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. They will conduct an independent review of your complaint.

Taking action

If a midwife or obstetrician has been negligent in their treatment of you or your child, you have the right to complain. You also have the right to have your complaint investigated and to receive a full and prompt reply.

Making an NHS complaint can seem daunting, especially just after giving birth, but it’s an important part of the process and is often the first step in making a medical negligence claim for maternity malpractice or negligence during childbirth.

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