NHS trust behind East Kent Hospitals will be charged over death in care of seven-day-old Harry Richford in 2017, Care Quality Commission says

  • Harry died seven days after his birth in November 2017 at a hospital in Margate  

East Kent Hospitals NHS trust will be prosecuted over the death of seven-day-old Harry Richford in 2017, the Care Quality Commission announced today. 

Harry died seven days after he was born in November 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (QEQM) Hospital in Margate in a tragedy the coroner called ‘highly avoidable’.  

In a statement, the CQC said: ‘The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced it is prosecuting East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust following complications which led to the death of a baby in its care.

‘The trust is charged with exposing Harry Richford and his mother Sarah Richford to significant risk of avoidable harm. Baby Harry tragically died on the 9 November 2017, seven days after he was born on the 2 November. 

Harry Richford, pictured with his parents Sarah and Tom, died at just seven days old while in the care of East Kent Hospitals NHS trust

Harry Richford, pictured with his parents Sarah and Tom, died at just seven days old while in the care of East Kent Hospitals NHS trust 

Harry’s family welcomed the new today. 

They said: ‘We are pleased that the CQC have made the landmark decision in making a criminal prosecution of the East Kent Hospitals Trust regarding the unsafe care and treatment of Sarah and Harry Richford.

‘It will now be for the courts to hear all of the evidence that the CQC and our family have amassed over the last three years and to decide whether the clinical care and treatment offered at that time could be considered safe; or whether there was a criminal breach of the duty of care that was clearly owed to both Sarah and Harry at their most vulnerable time.

‘In the meantime, the Kirkup Inquiry will carry on their work looking into the way maternity services were delivered since 2009 for all families affected, with the aim of finding the truth and ensuring these circumstances cannot be repeated. We would encourage anyone with any kind of maternity issue in East Kent since 2009 to make contact with the inquiry to share their story.

‘Our family have been in the spotlight for nearly three years; now is our time to pass the responsibility of finding the truth and ensuring lasting change in East Kent to The CQC, the courts, Bill Kirkup and indeed the government. With this in mind we would ask for our privacy to be respected at this time.’

‘CQC is unable to comment further at this time due to legal restrictions.’

Mr and Mrs Richford give a statement to the media after Harry's inquest in Maidstone in January

Mr and Mrs Richford give a statement to the media after Harry’s inquest in Maidstone in January 

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