Poor maternity care in London is costing the NHS close to £41 million pound a year in compensation, the London Evening Standard has claimed.

The newspaper said that legal action launched by families over maternity unit deaths or poor care has increased by 25 percent over the last year.

The payouts were almost half of London's total NHS compensation bill of £85 million to the end of April last year.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association campaign group, told the Evening Standard: "NHS leaders need to acknowledge these complaints, take them seriously and work to improve these failings.

"If it's a systems failure then something needs to be done about it, but if it's because of staff shortages then this is incredibly worrying, especially as the NHS is facing making huge savings."

A number of compensation cases centred on children who had been left with brain damage, cerebral palsy or developmental delay.

Posted by Robert Mair on 7.7.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com 

 Maternity wards