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Harry Richford: East Kent NHS Trust charged over baby's death

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionHarry Richford died a week after he was born

An NHS trust has been charged over the death of a baby who died seven days after an emergency delivery.

Harry Richford died a week after he was born at Margate's Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in 2017.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust had been charged with exposing Harry and his mother Sarah Richford to significant risk of avoidable harm.

The trust has apologised "unreservedly" to the family over its failings.

An inquest earlier this year ruled Harry's death was "contributed to by neglect".

Following the inquest, the independent Kirkup review of maternity services at the trust began its investigations. At the time, Susan Acott, chief executive of the NHS trust, told a board meeting there had been 15 baby deaths that could possibly have been preventable.

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionHarry's parents Sarah and Tom said they had been in the spotlight for nearly three years

The Richford family said they were pleased the CQC had made "this landmark decision".

"It will now be for the courts to hear all of the evidence that the CQC and our family have amassed over the last three years and to decide whether the clinical care and treatment offered at that time could be considered safe, or whether there was a criminal breach of the duty of care that was clearly owed to both Sarah and Harry at their most vulnerable time," they added.

"In the meantime, the Kirkup inquiry will carry on their work looking into the way maternity services were delivered since 2009 for all families affected, with the aim of finding the truth and ensuring these circumstances cannot be repeated."

The family urged anyone with concerns about maternity care in east Kent to contact the inquiry.

"Our family have been in the spotlight for nearly three years, now is our time to pass the responsibility of finding the truth and ensuring lasting change in east Kent to the CQC, the courts, Bill Kirkup and indeed the government," they said.

media captionThe Richford family said they were pleased with the decision

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Susan Acott said the trust had "admitted to the CQC that it failed to provide safe care and treatment for which we are profoundly sorry".

"We are deeply sorry and apologise unreservedly for our failure to provide safe care and treatment resulting in the death of baby Harry in November 2017," she said.

"Mr and Mrs Richford's expectation was that they would welcome a healthy baby into their family. We are deeply sorry that we failed in our role to help them do that and for the devastating loss of baby Harry.

"We recognise the mistakes in both Harry's delivery and subsequent resuscitation and that Harry's family was not given the support and answers they needed at the time. We deeply regret the extra pain that this caused them."

Related Topics

  • Childbirth
  • NHS
  • Margate
  • Pregnancy

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