Nearly three quarters of negligence claims within the NHS relate to maternity services, highlighting the need to overhaul the entire system, a charity has claimed.
A spokeswoman for Baby Lifeline warned of maternity service failures and said that the problem needed to be addressed to ensure a better level of safety.
"Maternity services are responsible for around 70 per cent of all negligence claims in [the] NHS," Judy Ledger claimed.
"We're talking about 400 million a year, that's a rough figure, to maternity - it's a lot."
Ms Ledger said that, while prematurity is certainly an issue, it is not the only problem faced by the health service.
"The whole of maternity needs to be pulled up by the boot laces. It's a lack of the system…The system is failing," she insisted.
A new report from premature baby charity Bliss has claimed that special care baby units are further away than ever from reaching the recommended staffing ratios.
"Bliss is concerned that the government gives less priority to intensive care for babies than for adults and children, and that it is only thanks to the goodwill and commitment of doctors and nurses that babies are being cared for in some cases," warned Andy Cole, chief executive of Bliss.
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Maternity treatment news : 20/04/2007