An MSP is demanding an urgent meeting with Tayside and Grampian health chiefs after a sheriff’s damning fatal accident inquiry finding that a tragic Montrose baby could have lived if better care had been provided.
Nevaeh Stewart died shortly after she was born at Montrose Royal Infirmary in September 2012, despite the efforts of midwives and specialists who rushed to her aid from Dundee.
Her devastated parents, Gary and Kimberly, have said they will fully consider the newly-published findings of a lengthy FAI held at Forfar sheriff court before making comment.
But they have expressed the hope that “no other family has to go through what we have gone through” and north east region Conservative MSP Liam Kerr has called for an urgent sit-down with chief executives of both health authorities to discuss what lessons can be learned and improvements made.
The respective health authorities have said they will be happy to meet with the MSP for talks.
Baby Nevaeh was born in poor condition after her mother arrived at the Angus unit following the onset of labour at her home in Auchenblae.
In his FAI findings, Sheriff Pino Di Emidio said the tragic newborn had “simply languished “ at the midwifery unit, receiving only “basic resuscitation” because NHS guidelines would not allow a blue light ambulance to be sent.
The sheriff said he considered that reasonable precautions could have been taken to avoid Nevaeh’s death and has made an early recommendation for greater communication and co-operation between health boards when patients stay in one area and are treated in another.
MSP Mr Kerr said he had followed the FAI since it began in 2016 and has asked for a meeting with executives to discuss how they are making sure such a tragedy cannot happen again.
“The sheriff has taken his time to deliver a very considered opinion in this very sad case,” he said.
“Community midwifery units are safe places to give birth and should be an option for every mother who is judged to be low-risk.
“But the public need to be assured that mums-to-be are given all the information they need to make an informed choice.
“This includes the time it might take for an ambulance to arrive, and how midwives pass along information between appointments.
“It is also troubling that NHS Grampian did not participate in the early analysis, or indeed the FAI, despite the amount of evidence involving them.”
Mr and Mrs Stewart have asked for time to allow them to consider the 200-page report in full.
Speaking at the family home, Kimberly said: “It is such a lengthy report. We want to take time to digest it and will then make a full comment.
“We want to make sure no other family has to go through what we have gone through.”
NHS Tayside has apologised for the distress caused to the couple and said guidelines had been updated following the incident.
No births have taken place in the Montrose unit since June 2016 due to a lack of staff.
A spokesperson for NHS Grampian said: “This is a significant and substantial piece of work which we are still studying carefully.
“We are open to meeting with Mr Kerr to discuss the implications of the sheriff’s recommendations.
“Our thoughts are with the Stewart family at this time.”
A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said, “Our thoughts remain with Nevaeh’s parents and family.
“We will be in touch with Mr Kerr when we receive his correspondence to take forward his request for a meeting.”