NHS Trust fined £800,000 for failing to prevent death of newborn baby

Sarah and Gary Andrews arrive at Nottingham Magistrates' Court (PA)
Sarah and Gary Andrews arrive at Nottingham Magistrates' Court (PA)

An NHS Trust has been fined £800,000 after admitting to failing to care for a baby who died minutes after being born.

Wynter Sophia Andrews died on September 15 2019, 23 minutes after being born by emergency Caesarean section, in the arms of her parents, Sarah and Gary Andrews.

In what is believed to be the first time the trust has ever been criminally prosecuted, Nottingham University Hospitals trust pleaded guilty to two counts relating to failures in both Wynter’s and her mother's care at a hearing on Wednesday.

Sentencing the trust on Friday at Nottingham Magistrates' Court, District Judge Grace Leong said: "The catalogue of failings and errors exposed Mrs Andrews and her baby to a significant risk of harm which was avoidable, and such errors ultimately resulted in the death of Wynter and post-traumatic stress for Mrs Andrews and Mr Andrews.

"My assessment is that the level of culpability is high, where offences on Wynter and Mrs Andrews are concerned.

"There were systems in place, but there were so many procedures and practices where guidance was not followed or adhered to or implemented."

District Judge Leong added that the "systematic failures" were "more than sufficient" to cause harm to Wynter and her mother.

However, she said she was "acutely aware" that any fine would have to be paid out of public funds which would otherwise be spent on patient care.

She added: "In giving the trust full credit for its early guilty pleas, the fine will be £800,000. The trust will also pay a victim surcharge of £181.

"The costs of the prosecution are reasonable and proportionate to the fine. In such circumstances, it is reasonable to direct that all prosecution trusts are met by the trust."

The prosecution costs amount to £13,668.65, with Bernard Thorogood, mitigating on behalf of the trust, asking for two years to pay the sum.

Outside the court on Wednesday, Mrs Andrews said in a statement that her daughter and family had been “failed in the most cruel way”.

She urged other mothers who may have been through similar experiences to take part in the Ockenden Review, a wide-ranging investigation into multiple failures in maternity care across the NUH trust.

The trust accepted wrongdoing to the CQC several months prior to Wednesday’s court hearing, with chief executive Anthony May reiterating its apology.

In a statement, he 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.”