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Maternity Services

Health written question – answered on 3rd September 2013.

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Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry Conservative, Wealden

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many serious incidents occurred in each NHS maternity unit in the most recent year for which figures are available; and what definition his Department uses of a serious incident.

Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Information on the number of serious incidents in each national health service maternity unit is not collected centrally.

The definition of a serious incident is set out in the National Patient Safety Agency's (NPSA) “National Framework for Reporting and Learning from Serious Incidents Requiring Investigation”, which was published in 2010. This document is available on the NPSA's website at: and defines a serious incident requiring investigation as:

An incident that occurred in relation to NHS-funded services and care resulting in one of the following:

unexpected or avoidable death of one or more patients, staff, visitors or members of the public; serious harm to one or more patients, staff, visitors or members of the public or where the outcome requires life-saving intervention, major surgical/medical intervention, permanent harm or will shorten life expectancy or result in prolonged pain or psychological harm (this includes incidents graded under the NPSA definition of severe harm); a scenario that prevents or threatens to prevent a provider organisation's ability to continue to deliver healthcare services, for example, actual or potential loss of personal/organisational information, damage to property, reputation or the environment, or information technology failure; allegations of abuse; adverse media coverage or public concern about the organisation or the wider NHS; one of the core set of ‘Never Events’ as updated on an annual basis.

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