East Kent baby deaths: Grandfather in maternity safety training appeal

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Derek Richford with Baby Lifeline campaigners
Image caption,
Campaigners are calling on the Chancellor to reinstate the maternity fund on a permanent basis

The grandfather of a baby who died days after an emergency delivery has demanded the return of a maternity training fund.

Derek Richford joined campaigners from Baby Lifeline to deliver an open letter to Downing Street.

An inquest ruled Harry Richford's death a week after his birth at Margates' QEQM Hospital was "wholly avoidable".

It has led to an independent review into failures in maternity care at the East Kent NHS Trust.

The trust is being probed over up to 15 baby deaths since 2011.

The £8m Maternity Safety Training Fund was set up in 2016 to provide up to date training for 30,000 staff across the country in dealing with childbirth emergencies, as well as leadership, communication and resilience, but the funding only lasted a year.

Campaigners from the charity Baby Lifeline are calling on the Chancellor to reinstate the fund on a permanent basis as part of next Wednesday's Budget.

Mr Richford said: "When Harry was born there were 20-odd people in the theatre and the only person who could save him was anaesthetist.

"We need all our people trained in emergency resuscitation. It's really disappointing.

He added: "In the week before the Budget I call on Boris Johnson to do the right thing and reinstate the fund.

"Maternity is so important to this country and we need to do it a lot better. This would genuinely help."

Judy Ledger, founder and chief executive of Baby Lifeline, who has lost three babies herself, said: "Evidence has shown with the right training you can reduce serious incidents and avoidable deaths.

"It's very important and what we're asking for is a mere fraction of one negligence claim - it's incredible, every year £2.2bn reserved for maternity claims alone."

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