“Wrongful births”, statistics and the law

“Instinctively, the traveller on the Underground would consider that the law of tort has no business to provide legal remedies consequent up upon the birth of a healthy child, which all of us regard as a valuable and good thing”

McFarlane v Tayside Health Board per Lord Steyn

On 18 October 2014 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Health, Dr Dan Poulter MP, provided written answers to the questions asked by Mrs Mary Glindon (North Tyneside, Lab) on 9 September:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how much the NHS has paid out for wrongful birth claims in each year between 2003 and 2013; how many successful claims for wrongful birth were made in each year between 2008 and 2012”. [208750]


“To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the neonatal conditions were that accounted for successful wrongful birth claims between 2003 and 2013”. [208751]

Dr Poulter’s answers, here and here, formed the basis of an article “Compensation culture gone mad. Cash-strapped NHS shells out millions for ‘unwanted’ healthy babies” by Philippa Taylor, Head of Public Policy at the Christian Medical Fellowship, (CMF) in The Conservative Woman. This was repeated in MercatorNet as “The UK’s absurd ‘wrongful births’“, and subsequently circulated by Anglican Mainstream, True Anglican Blog and others. Continue reading