NHS Trust Given Largest Ever Maternity Care Fine of £800k after Death of Baby

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Kate Sweeney

Head of Clinical Negligence

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Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has been fined £800,000 after failings in the care of a baby who died after 23 minutes in 2019. The NHS admitted her death could’ve been prevented if staff had delivered her earlier. They failed in their duty of care by missing clear problems and opportunities to save the life of baby Wynter.

Sarah Andrews, who was pregnant with her baby girl Wynter started having contractions on the 9 September 2019, but was only admitted to hospital on 14 September 2019, six days later. When she arrived, there were clear clinical signs indicating that she was in established labour, but she was misdiagnosed as being in the latent (earlier) phase. An inquest has heard there were missed opportunities to progress Sarah’s labour and commence one-to-one care that was needed.

When Sarah arrived at the hospital, the maternity unit was busy and short staffed. The coroner, Laurinda Bower, said there were “systemic issues” in the maternity care that Sarah received. This included that when doctors changed shifts, information on Sarah’s patient history was not handed over properly. A major error was where one particular doctor did not pick up on concerns raised by midwives about a possible infection and failed to offer an examination of the mother.

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Failings in the Care of Baby Wynter

The inquest found that there were also missed opportunities within the hospital to provide additional monitoring of the baby. It was said that had staff had monitored Wynter properly, they could have taken action if there were any signs she was in distress.

Baby Wynter arrived at 2:15pm by caesarean section on 15 September 2019, with the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around her leg and neck. Efforts to resuscitate the baby were stopped 23 minutes later, and she sadly died in her parents’ arms. 

This was devastating for the parents and Mr and Mrs Andrews, both suffered from PTSD after the death of Wynter. It was more heart-breaking for them to be told that more could have been done to save Wynter’s life.

£800k Fine for the NHS Trust

The trial at Nottingham Magistrates Court found that there was a “catalogue of failings” which exposed baby Wynter and her mother Sarah to “a significant risk of harm”. The Trust pleaded guilty to two separate charges: one for their failure in Sarah’s care, the other for baby Wynter’s care.

The Trust was criminally prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust were fined £800,000.00 which is the largest ever fine given to an NHS trust regarding failings in maternity care.

Wynter’s parents said the fine “demonstrated the seriousness” of the failings. They added “We hope the fine sends a clear message to the Trust managers that they must hold patient safety in the highest regard. We feel that this sentence isn’t just for Wynter, but it’s for all the babies who have gone before and after her”.

These hefty fines are to encourage better healthcare and shows Trusts will be held accountable for failings. We hope this prosecution will act as a catalyst for systemic change. 

The Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH)’s maternity care unit has been under scrutiny since an inspection in 2020 which identified many areas as ‘inadequate’. The NUH Trust have said they have worked to address failings in the findings and have implemented changes within their maternity services to hopefully create more positive experiences. This included more investment in staff training and quality of equipment.

The Trust is also part of a major maternity services review by Donna Ockenden, a Senior Midwife. Ockenden said that the more staff speak up about the systemic challenges in the Trust, the better informed this review can be.

Nottingham University Hospital Failings

Following a joint investigation by the Independent and Channel 4 News which revealed repeated maternity failings at the Queen's Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital on June 2021, an independent review led by senior midwife Donna Ockenden was shortly launched; and we’ve now hit that independent reviews one year anniversary.

The joint investigation by Channel 4 and The Independent found that dozens of babies had died or been were brain damaged as a result of care of Nottingham Maternity Unit. From 2010 until 2020, there were found to have been at least 46 babies who suffered brain damage, and 15 deaths at the unit for mother and baby – which has now prompted an inquiry into over 1,700 cases

We hope that the more families speak up about inadequate maternity care, the more the healthcare system will be improve. If you suspect you received maternity care that fell below a reasonable standard, either during pregnancy or birth, our specialist Medical Negligence lawyers are here to help you make a claim.

How Our Medical Negligence Lawyers Can Help

Our specialist Medical Negligence lawyers are aware of the tragic consequences of maternity care failings. Sadly, Wynter’s parents are not alone in their experience. 

If you believe your maternity care was negligent, and it led to serious injuries for you and/or your baby, you should get in touch with our Medical Negligence experts - call us on 0808 239 6043 for a free claims assessment, where we’ll give you an idea of the likely prospects of success before proceeding any further.

 It can be a devastating time for you and your family, but we’re here to help you through the process, and we can advise you on whether you could make a claim for compensation. This can help you get the ongoing care and support you need and can help drive process changes in healthcare.

*An inquiry into the Nottingham University Trust will be ongoing for a while to come, so if you're concerned with the maternity care you received at Nottingham City Hospital or the Queen's Medical Centre, please consider sending your story to [email protected].


Sky News. (2023, November 2). Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust fined for failing to give safe care to Wynter Andrews, who died 23 minutes after birth. Retrieved from https://news.sky.com/story/nottingham-university-hospitals-nhs-trust-fined-for-failing-to-give-safe-care-to-wynter-andrews-who-died-23-minutes-after-birth-12795950

BBC News. (2023, November 2). Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust fined over baby's death. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-64422598

Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System. (2021). Maternity FAQs. Retrieved from https://notts.icb.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Maternity-FAQs-22.10.2021.pdf

Channel 4 News. (n.d.). Over 30 deaths in Nottingham maternity units scandal. Retrieved from https://www.channel4.com/news/revealed-over-30-deaths-in-nottingham-maternity-units-scandal

Ockenden Maternity Review. (n.d.). The independent review into maternity services at the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust one year on. Retrieved from https://www.ockendenmaternityreview.org.uk/the-independent-review-into-maternity-services-at-the-nottingham-university-hospitals-nuh-nhs-trust-one-year-on/

Channel 4 News. (2023, July 10). Nottingham baby deaths inquiry: Donna Ockenden reveals 1,700 cases. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/07/10/nottingham-baby-deaths-inquiry-donna-ockenden-1700-cases/

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. (n.d.). Travel to City Hospital. Retrieved from https://www.nuh.nhs.uk/travel-to-city-hospital/

Kate Sweeney

Head of Clinical Negligence

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Kate has extensive experience both in leadership and in the field of Personal Injury. She has 10 years of experience in Clinical Negligence where she handled a wide range of client files as well as managing and growing the team. For the last 16 years, Kate has worked in the area of Personal Injury, leading the team alongside managing a small caseload.

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