Lack of overnight and weekend consultants putting mothers and babies at risk
It is well known that in the event of an emergency, every second is crucial. However, a survey by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has shown that nearly three quarters of maternity wards have no overnight consultants and almost half are without senior consultants at weekends.
Whilst there were consultants available on call during these times, it can take up to half an hour before the consultant is present. We have dealt with a number of cerebral palsy claims in which the damage done to the child could have been avoided if action had been taken just minutes earlier.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have previously urged maternity units to work towards having consultants on site around the clock, but as the survey shows, this is far from close to becoming a reality.
Many births take place out of hours. It cannot be right that mothers and babies are being put at an increased risk merely because of the time of day that their baby is being born and we would urge all maternity units to work towards a situation in which at least one consultant is on site 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.