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NHS Trust charged over the death of a baby who died seven days after an emergency delivery

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East Kent NHS Trust has been charged over the death of a baby who died seven days after an emergency delivery.

Harry Richford died a week after he was born at Margate’s Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in 2017.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust had been charged with exposing Harry and his mother Sarah Richford to significant risk of avoidable harm.

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The trust has apologised “unreservedly” to the family over its failings to them after an inquest earlier this year ruled Harry’s death was “contributed to by neglect”.

Following the inquest, the independent Kirkup review of maternity services at the trust began after it emerged up to 15 babies had died there in recent years.

Harry Richford – Images from the Richford family

The Richford family said they were pleased the CQC had made “this landmark decision”.

“It will now be for the courts to hear all of the evidence that the CQC and our family have amassed over the last three years and to decide whether the clinical care and treatment offered at that time could be considered safe, or whether there was a criminal breach of the duty of care that was clearly owed to both Sarah and Harry at their most vulnerable time,” they added.

“In the meantime, the Kirkup inquiry will carry on their work looking into the way maternity services were delivered since 2009 for all families affected, with the aim of finding the truth and ensuring these circumstances cannot be repeated.”

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Susan Acott said the trust had “admitted to the CQC that it failed to provide safe care and treatment for which we are profoundly sorry”.

“We are deeply sorry and apologise unreservedly for our failure to provide safe care and treatment resulting in the death of baby Harry in November 2017,” she said.

“Mr and Mrs Richford’s expectation was that they would welcome a healthy baby into their family. We are deeply sorry that we failed in our role to help them do that and for the devastating loss of baby Harry.

“We recognise the mistakes in both Harry’s delivery and subsequent resuscitation and that Harry’s family was not given the support and answers they needed at the time. We deeply regret the extra pain that this caused them.”

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