0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

maternity matters – learning lessons from early notification

26 September 2019

NHS Resolution has released a report on the first year of the innovative Early Notification (EN) Scheme. The Early Notification scheme progress report: collaboration and improved experience for families draws together key themes and recommendations from an analysis of cases from the first year of the scheme (2017/2018).

The EN scheme, launched in April 2017, aims to improve safety in maternity care through the early investigation of incidents where babies are born at term, following labour, with a potentially severe brain injury. It epitomises NHS Resolution’s strategy to do more, closer to the point of incident.

Early investigation of these cases helps families to be supported when they need it most with an early apology for what has happened and answers into what may have gone wrong, together with an early decision on liability and compensation where appropriate. As a result of the scheme early admissions of liability have been given to 24 families within 18 months of the birth. Previously the average length of time between an incident occurring and an award for compensation being made was 11.5 years.

A key aim of the scheme is also to identify learning that can be fed back to ensure that immediate lessons are learned to avoid future harm. Common themes from the first year of the scheme included problems with monitoring fetal heart rates during labour (a factor in 70% of cases), and avoidable delays in expediting birth (63% of cases). The report highlights two emerging clinical issues including impacted fetal head at Caesarean section and the identification of maternal/fetal hyponatraemia. 

The report makes six key recommendations;

  • Full and open conversations with families about their care and the investigation process. 
  • An independent package of support for NHS staff 
  • Urgent research into a standardised approach to monitor fetal heart rates 
  • Raised awareness and research into difficult delivery of the fetal head at Caesarean section
  • Improved detection of maternal deterioration in labour including hyponatraemia 
  • Raised awareness of the importance of high-quality resuscitation and immediate neonatal care on outcomes for newborn babies. 

It is vital that the valuable insights, findings and recommendations from this report are shared across the maternity network to support the work being done to improve care and birth outcomes. If you would like any more information about the EN scheme or what your organisation can learn from the EN report, please contact Sian Brown, Senior Associate – 0330 045 2875 or sian.brown@brownejacobson.com

related opinions

GP contracts: updated expectations and contracting issues

On 9 July NHS England and NHS Improvement issued a letter to primary medical contractors and commissioners updating them on service expectations and contracting issues.

View blog

“Caution” is now the watchword when it comes to directly awarding public sectors contracts

The judicial review proceedings brought by the Good Law Project against the Department of Health and Social Care in relation to the £108m contract the Department awarded for PPE in April are about to shine a light on Regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

View blog

The impact of coronavirus on the management of complaints and serious incident investigations in the NHS

Given the significant challenges and resource implications of the coronavirus on all NHS staff, how should Trusts manage and respond to complaints and Serious Incident Investigations? Do the relevant time limits still apply?

View blog

The Exercise of Commissioning Functions by the National Health Commissioning Board (Coronavirus) Directions 2020

See the new The Exercise of Commissioning Functions by the National Health Commissioning Board (Coronavirus) Directions 2020.

View blog

mailing list sign up



Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up