Expert review found ‘no systematic failings’ at King’s College Hospital over five post-birth deaths

News Desk (19 October, 2016)

External review was undertaken by clinicians from hospital in Tooting

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King’s College Hospital has confirmed that a panel of external experts found “no systematic failings” with its maternity services, after the deaths of five women post-childbirth.

Clinicians from St George’s Hospital in Tooting were called-in by King’s senior management after a coroner found that “neglect” contributed to the death of Abimbola Babatola, 39, at King’s on July 31 last year.

Ms Babatola was one of four women who died between July and December in 2015, having been transferred to King’s specialist wards from other hospitals due to complications weeks after birth. The children of all four late mothers survived.

A fifth woman, Gillian Nelson, 34, from Sydenham, died in February 2014 after giving birth at Princess Royal Hospital in Farnborough – managed by King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCHT).

The external inquiry commissioned by King’s was also called for, following concerns raised by the NHS inspector, the Care Quality Commission. The watchdog published a report in September 2015 citing concerns from King’s midwives feeling “under stress” with shortages of consultants and clinicians at peak times.

Following the review by St George’s Hospital clinicians, a spokesperson for KCHT said: “King’s College Hospital is a referral unit for women with complex medical problems that either develop during pregnancy or are pre-existing and deteriorate during pregnancy or after birth.

“Two of the women who died gave birth at other hospitals. They were transferred to King’s when they developed complications and required specialist input from other medical departments.

“All the deaths were reviewed by a panel of clinicians, including specialists from other hospitals. For extra assurance, we asked for a review of the cases from another external specialist team.

“This was to compare the cases to ensure there were no systemic failings that were being overlooked. The report from this review has now been received and has concluded that there are no concerns about common themes or systemic failings.”

A St George’s Hospital spokesperson said: “We can confirm that St George’s clinicians were asked to carry out a review of the cases in question, and we have since shared our findings with King’s.”

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