An investigation has been launched into the “potentially avoidable” death of a baby at a Highland hospital.
The infant died at Caithness Maternity Unit and it has been confirmed the “tragic case” could have been avoided, while NHS Highland has introduced a number of short term changes to avoid a repeat of the tragedy.
Dr Rod Harvey, Medical Director for NHS Highland, said: “This is a very tragic case and our thoughts and condolences are with the family.
“Regrettably our preliminary investigations have determined that this death was potentially avoidable had different arrangements been in place to ensure more timely and immediate access to advanced paediatric support facilities at Raigmore Hospital.
“While our initial review did not find any failings in the care provided by individual staff it did highlight a number of issues concerning the current arrangements and protocols for neonatal paediatric risk assessment and support, which now need to be reviewed to ensure the safety of both mothers and new born babies in the future.
“Having considered the events leading up to the death and in order to ensure that as far as is possible these circumstances do not happen again, the clinical team have made a number of recommendations that have already been put in place.
“These changes are to improve the safety of mothers and babies during labour and birth in the Caithness Maternity Unit while we await the outcome and implications of a more detailed review of this case.”
The changes will see more mothers transferred to Raigmore Hospital and Dr Harvey explained the unit will operate with this arrangement until the conclusion of the investigation.
Dr Harvey added: “These arrangements will remain in place pending the outcome of a Significant Adverse Event Review which is already under way.
“I have personally met with the family and have explained to them our preliminary findings and how we plan to conduct the review.”