Woman dies during childbirth at Basildon Hospital

An investigation has been launched after a woman died during childbirth at Basildon Hospital’s maternity unit.

It is the third death of a mother in the past three years at the unit, in addition to the death of a newborn baby. The unit only had its rating by watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) upgraded from Inadequate to Requires Improvement in December.

It is understood that the woman was in her third trimester.

Hospital bosses offered their condolences to the woman’s family, but could not comment on the case while it was under investigation.

Basildon Hospital is part of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which also runs Southend and Broomfield hospitals.

The death comes after it was revealed last week that two babies had to be transferred to another trust for ‘cooling’ treatment this month to protect their brains after delivery. The trust confirmed this is not a regular event “but not uncommon”.

The fatality follows the death of Gabriela Pintilie, 36, who gave birth to her daughter in February 2019, but died the following day at Basildon Hospital after medics failed to provide a vital blood transfusion. Her baby girl survived.

It also comes after the death of a mother and a baby in separate incidents at the unit in March 2019, while the trust was being inspected by the CQC following Ms Pintilie’s death.

The hospital also apologised for the death of newborn Frederick Terry after he suffered a brain haemorrhage and fractured skull during a failed forceps delivery in November 2020.

A spokesman for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our condolences go out to the family in this very sad case, as it is currently under investigation, we are unable to make further comment.

“The safety of mums and babies whilst using our maternity services is our priority, and we strive to always offer the very best care.”

A CQC spokesman said: “We are aware a pregnant woman sadly died on Basildon Hospital’s maternity unit. Her death is being investigated by the trust.

“We continue to monitor the trust, along with all the services we regulate, to ensure people receive the safe and effective care and treatment they have a right to expect.”

CQC visit due this week

More serious incidents, involving a baby at Basildon Hospital, a baby at Broomfield and a mother and baby also at Broomfield, occurred during the period November to January.

A Mid and South Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) board meeting on Thursday, which made no reference to the latest death, said Basildon Hospital maternity unit was due a visit by watchdog the Care Quality Commission this coming week.

The meeting heard a subsequent report is expected to show the trust is not fully compliant with earlier recommendations.

Stephen Mayo, from Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s an extremely busy time in maternity to ensure the safety of our mothers and babies.

“Regarding the Care Quality Commission, the overall rating for the trust remains as Requires Improvement. However, on a more positive note there is the removal of the Inadequate rating for maternity at Basildon Hospital.”

Viv Barnes from NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There is an extreme focus on Basildon, and I don’t think to the detriment of Broomfield and Southend.

“However, there have been some issues at Southend and the national team that were supporting Basildon have agreed to continue to support all three sites. There’s a huge amount of work going on.”

Stephanie Prior, head of clinical negligence at Osbornes Law who represented the family of Gabriela Pintilie who died in the unit in 2019, said: “It is three years since Gabriela died unnecessarily following a caesarean section.

“It is imperative action is taken immediately to prevent any more mothers or babies dying at the hospital.”


Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter