NHS Trust fined £773,000 over death of newborn baby

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Tom Savvides

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £733,000 at Folkestone Magistrates' Court for failing to provide safe care and treatment for seven-day-old Harry Richford, who died in 2017, and his mother Sarah Richford.

"The trust fell far short of the appropriate standards of care and treatment in dealing with you," district judge Justin Barron told Harry's parents.

Mr Barron said the trust is "very much under the spotlight" and said it was important that it takes action to restore confidence in its standard of care, something he said it is doing.

Harry Richford died seven days after he was born on 2 November 2017 Credit: Family handout

The total fine of £1.1million was reduced to £733,000 due to the trust's guilty plea.

Four members of the Richford family, including Harry's parents Tom and Sarah Richford, were in court to hear the sentence read out on Friday.

Niall Dickson CBE, Chair of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, said: "I want to begin by saying how sorry we are for Harry Richford’s death and to apologise unreservedly to his family for our failure to provide safe care and treatment for Harry and for his mother, Sarah".

"Harry’s parents expected that they would return home with a healthy baby and we failed them. We fully acknowledge the mistakes that we made".

"I share the commitment of our midwives and doctors who work to provide high quality maternity care to the thousands of women who give birth at our hospitals each year".

"I know that today we have more senior doctors, more stringent checks on those we employ, strengthened training for our maternity staff and better monitoring of babies during labour. There is always more to do and we will continue to build on the steps that have been taken to improve the service we offer".

He concluded: "Learning and efforts to improve should never stop and we will continue to work tirelessly to provide a high-quality maternity service, which continually strives for improvement and is safe, effective, and centered on the women and children under our care".

  • Sarah Ledger, Baby Lifeline

Sarah Ledger, from Baby Lifeline, says: "I think that it was a necessary thing to happen for the families involved. I think they weren't feeling like their voices were being heard".

"I think that hopefully this fine should mean that, not just East Kent, but NHS trusts should sit up and listen to what is going on in their maternity units".