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Duty of Candour fails again

News that an inquest into the death of a newborn baby has been adjourned after a midwife stated that evidence had been removed from her witness statement by an NHS Trust’s legal advisers should be of great concern to both health care professionals and lawyers alike.

Avon Coroner Maria Voisin is considering whether to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision on whether any criminal offence has been committed.

Aside from the anguish that this revelation and adjournment must have caused the parents at a very difficult moment in their lives, this threatens to undermine the recently published NHS safer maternity care action plan which is structured around the five key drivers for delivering safer maternity care, the third of which is to ‘Focus on learning and best practice: identify and share best practice, and learn from investigations”.