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An excellent day at the 2021 National Maternity Safety Conference

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Somek and Associates' Lyn Crocker-Eakins, midwifery expert witness, was excited to attend the 2021 National Maternity Safety Conference. Here is her account of the day...

I was proud to attend the National Maternity Safety Conference in Birmingham on 09/09/2021. This had been postponed from the original spring date due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as the organisers, Baby Lifeline, wanted the conference to be an ‘in person’ event rather than an online-only conference.

It was so wonderful to be out in the world again, networking with individuals I have met both throughout my midwifery career and since becoming an expert witness with Somek and Associates.

There was sponsorship from solicitors for the event; and to meet individuals in person after months of zoom/teams ENS summit meetings was really useful, enabling further discussion about the ENS scheme and whether we will ever have in-person summits again - sadly this seems to be unlikely.

The day was split into seven sections, with each one chaired by an individual whose work is prominent in maternity safety. I got to hear Nadine Montgomery speak (Montgomery’s law regarding consent) and the important challenges this presents to us, not only as midwives but to all clinicians.

Donna Ockendon - chair of the Independent Investigation into Maternity Services at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, AKA Ockendon report - reiterated how NHS Trusts have been challenged to address maternity safety concerns, making each consultation count, with inbuilt risk assessments. We await a second report regarding further implementation of this work.

In this investigation report, NHS Trusts were challenged to provide independent reviews following poor outcomes. As a Somek and Associates' midwifery expert witness I have conducted such investigations, where no litigation has been commenced, when the Trust are seeking an independent review to enhance their own learning and feed into their own investigation and ultimately a report.

Nadine expressed her view that to have a Trust conduct their own review into possible failures of care, was like marking your own exam paper! This view is likely to increase the amount of independent reviews that Somek experts are asked to conduct.  

Overall, it was a very worthwhile conference, and it is well worth saving up to attend next year. It was a great revival tonic and I left feeling enthused and energized regarding the clinical care we provide, and the expert reports we write for other Trusts when there have been poor outcomes. Sadly, my poster presentation was not accepted to be produced for the day, but only 10 were chosen. Maybe next year?

For more details about Lyn, please click here.

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