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Less than two months since the government announced a six-month delay in MNSI’s takeover of Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch’s (HSIB) Maternity Investigation Programme, health ministers have now said that HSIB’s maternity investigations will be taken over by health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The latest changes to the plans for the future of maternity safety investigations were announced in a Written Ministerial Statement issued to Parliament last week [30th March].
HSIB’s own transformation update confirms that the ‘the new hosting arrangement with the CQC replaces the previously announced plan to form the programme into a separate special health authority, the Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations Special Health Authority (MNSI).’ No further explanation is given for the decision to abandon the previously announced plan to set up MNSI. However, the timescale for the transfer of maternity investigations is currently expected to remain the same, as HSIB says the maternity investigations programme will be hosted by the CQC from October 2023.
HSIB will no longer be able to carry out maternity investigations once it becomes the independent statutory body to be known as Health Services Safety Investigations Body or HSSIB. The Health and Care Act allows the new HSSIB to investigate patient safety incidents using safe space powers, a secretive process of investigation, which is not appropriate for maternity incidents resulting in mothers and babies losing their lives or serious brain injury to babies.
The government’s recent statement confirms that under CQC the aims of the maternity investigation programme will remain the same as previously intended for MNSI. This includes:
- to provide independent, standardised and family-focused maternity investigations for families;
- to provide reports at local, regional and national level which help the healthcare system learn;
- to analyse data to help the healthcare system learn;
- to be the system expert in standards for maternity investigations;
- to collaborate with others within the system to escalate safety concerns.
Non-maternity patient safety investigations will be carried out by HSSIB, which is still expected to be established and operational by October 2023.
If your child has cerebral palsy or neurodevelopmental delay as a result of medical negligence, or you have been contacted by HSIB or NHS Resolution, you can talk to one of our solicitors, free and confidentially, for advice on how to respond or make a claim, by contacting us here.
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