Midwives accused of failings over care of Shropshire newborn who later died

Two midwives are accused of committing a series of failings surrounding the care of a newborn baby who died despite concerns raised by her mother.

Baby Pippa with her family before tragedy struck
Baby Pippa with her family before tragedy struck

Claire Roberts and Joanna Young, who at the time worked for Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, are now in the midst of a Nursing & Midwifery Council fitness to practise hearing being held in London and face a total of 14 charges between them.

Pippa Griffiths was one day old when she died on April 27, 2016 from a group b strep infection – the most common cause of meningitis in newborns.

Her mother, Kayleigh, had given birth at home in Myddle, between Shrewsbury and Wem.

A Nursing & Midwifery Council panel heard on Wednesday that she had spoken with midwives over the phone to raise concerns that Pippa was not feeding and had brought up brown mucus.

Pippa and her mother were flown to Princess Royal Hospital in Telford after a 999 call when she was found with difficulty breathing.

She was confirmed dead at the hospital.

The formal hearing will be used to determine whether the pair are guilty of misconduct.

Both of them stand accused of failing to recognise the urgency for medical or midwifery attention for Pippa.

During a telephone conversation with Mrs Griffiths, Ms Young is accused of failing to carry out a comprehensive triage assessment of Pippa by not asking about alertness, colour, breathing, temperature and how she was feeding.

It is also claimed she failed to follow instructions from a senior midwife to visit the baby, as well as to prioritise the visit as "extreme high importance".

Another charge alleges she failed to ensure Pippa received a prompt face-to-face assessment by calling 999.

And she is further accused of making an inaccurate record of a phone call with Mrs Griffiths by noting that the mum had called regarding "feeding concerns in baby” and not that she had reported that Pippa had brought up brown mucus.

As a result, Ms Young is claimed to have "knowingly intended to create a misleading impression" of Mrs Griffiths' concerns and intended to conceal the inadequacy of Pippa's triage assessment.

Ms Roberts had also spoken to Mrs Griffiths over the phone and she is also accused of failing to carry out a comprehensive triage assessment of Pippa.

The allegations are that she failed to ask about Pippa's breathing, temperature and feeding, as well as failing to refer to midwifery post-natal notes.

The charges also say she didn't advise Mrs Griffiths to attend the midwifery-led unit immediately for a face-to-face assessment and after a phone call with the mum inaccurately recorded she had called “asking for advice/reassurance with regards to breastfeeding” and had “no other concerns”, despite a claim Mrs Griffiths said to her that Pippa had vomited brown mucus.

She too is accused of knowingly intending to create a misleading impression of Mrs Griffiths' concerns.

During the hearing yesterday, Mrs Griffiths told the NMC panel: "I had concerns about Pippa's feeding.

"When Pippa brought up a very large amount of brown mucus in the night I was terrified there was something wrong with her."

She said she had reported both her concerns about the mucus and feeding.

Ms Roberts faces six charges, while Ms Young faces eight.

The hearing is expected to last for another fortnight.

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