Nottingham University Hospitals handed record £800,000 fine following avoidable death of baby Wynter Andrews

Nottingham Queen's Medical Centre.
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has been fined a record £800,000 for failing to provide safe care to a mother and her baby who died at 23 minutes old.

Wynter Andrews died at Nottingham Queen’s Medical Centre in 2019, in what was previously described by a coroner as “a clear and obvious case of neglect”.

At Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 27 January, District Judge Grace Leong handed the trust an £800,000 fine which must be paid within two years.

The unusual criminal prosecution is one of only two the healthcare watchdog has brought against an NHS maternity unit.

In 2022 East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust was fined £761,000 by the Care Quality Commission over its failure to protect baby Harry Richford and his mum Sarah.

The commission took also the Nottingham trust to court for its “failure to provide safe care and treatment” to both baby Wynter and her mother, Sarah Andrews. The trust had already admitted the charges.

Judge Leong listed a “catalogue of failings and errors” that “exposed Mr and Mrs Andrews and her baby to a significant risk of harm, which was avoidable”.
She said the level of culpability was “high” and added that many procedures and practices at the trust were “not followed or adhered to”.
But she added that the trust has no previous convictions and the hospital has safely cared for thousands of babies and mothers.

Judge Leong told the court on Friday (January 27): “I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Mr and Mrs Andrews for the loss of their child.

“Instead of bringing home their baby to love and nurture, they found themselves dealing with the death of their first child and planning a funeral.

“No words are sufficient to describe their unimaginable suffering and it is clear their pain continues and may never fully go away.

“I am acutely aware that this prosecution may not bring them closure.

“I have no doubt any fine will appear like an insult or a slap in the face for Mr and Mrs Andrews whose lives are changed forever as a result of the failure of the trust.

“No fine could ever be sufficient to reflect adequately the impact the offences I am dealing with.”

The trust, where maternity units are currently rated ‘inadequate’, is also facing a wider inquiry by experienced midwife Donna Ockenden.

Chief Executive Anthony May said: “We are truly sorry for the pain and grief that we caused Mr and Mrs Andrews due to failings in the maternity care we provided. We let them down at what should have been a joyous time in their lives.

“While words will never be enough, I can assure our communities that staff across NUH are committed to providing good quality care every day and we are working hard to make the necessary improvements that are needed for our local communities, including engaging fully and openly with Donna Ockenden and her team on their ongoing independent review into our maternity services.”

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