Baby tragedy

HEALTH service bosses have vowed the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of a newborn baby must not happen again.Following revelations at an inquest that only one medical team was available to cover emergencies overnight at the West Suffolk Hospital, health watchdogs have pledged to ensure improvements are made.

HEALTH service bosses have vowed the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of a newborn baby must not happen again.

Following revelations at an inquest that only one medical team was available to cover emergencies overnight at the West Suffolk Hospital, health watchdogs have pledged to ensure improvements are made.

Devastated mother Amanda Bozward waited up to 25 minutes - rather than the requisite five laid down in health service rules - for a specialist obstetrics registrar to arrive at an operating theatre when giving birth to her son Hayden, who died three days later because of brain injuries sustained during his birth.

Key staff were tied up in another operation at the time, it emerged during an inquest into Hayden's death on Tuesday prompting severe criticism of the hospital, which is currently facing a £20million debt crisis.


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In light of Hayden's death, the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA), responsible for monitoring the hospital's performance, has said it will ensure the hospital takes action to avoid another tragedy.

A spokesman for the SHA told the EADT: “When cases like this occur, the SHA will work with the hospital to ensure a robust action plan is put in place to improve the situation and make sure tragic occurrences like this do not happen again.”

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The spokesman confirmed it had been working with the hospital since Hayden's death in December last year, when the hospital began its own investigation into the matter and would make sure a satisfactory system for out of hours emergencies was developed.

Bury St Edmunds Conservative MP David Ruffley said he was “staggered” by the revelations and would immediately be seeking answers from hospital chief executive Chris Bown.

“This raises serious questions about the funding of our hospital. This problem has evidently been going on for several years and has only come to light because of the tragic death of a baby,” he said.

“I will want some answers as a matter of utmost urgency to reassure the people of Suffolk, who I am sure will be extremely concerned to learn of the emergency arrangements at the West Suffolk Hospital.

“We must ensure our excellent front line clinical staff are given the resources they require to be able to carry out their work to the necessary degree.”

West Suffolk Conservative MP Richard Spring said he was “extremely concerned” about the situation and would look for reassurances from hospital chiefs that they would be working to improve the situation.

The hospital, which reached an out of court settlement with Hayden's parents for an undisclosed sum prior to the inquest, has said it was looking to employ four new anaesthetists, with a view to providing extra emergency cover in the new year.

Yesterday, the hospital's medical director Roy Bannon admitted this would mean finding another £300,000 from the multi-million savings already being sought from bed closures and the closure of operating theatres.

In spite of failing to provide a specialist to tend to Mrs Bozward, who had endured four-and-a-half years of IVF treatment prior to Hayden's conception, within the required the five minutes laid down in national targets for standards of care, Mr Bannon maintained they were still meeting these targets.

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