23/11/2012 11:36 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

NHS Payouts For Families With Disabled Children Who Were Not Told Of Abnormalities During Early Pregnancy

Families with disabled children who were not told of their abnormalities during pregnancy sue NHS PA

The NHS has paid out £54million to the parents of disabled babies who claim medics should have warned them of their child's abnormalities earlier in pregnancy.

The Mirror reports that 'wrongful birth' cases are 'among the most controversial of medical compensation payments because parents are in effect saying the babies could have been aborted if they had known about the disability'.

The paper obtained the figures via a Freedom of Information request. Their findings show that the NHS Litigation Authority have paid out to families who claimed compensation in recompense for their baby's suffering, and to help meet the costs of their care.

The families had argued on the basis they were unable to terminate the pregnancies as they were unaware of their child's abnormalities before the 24 week legal abortion limit. This, they claim, is down to medical negligence, as they had not been informed of possible problems early on either because of inaccurate interpretations of scans, or blood rest results.

Pro-life groups have hit out at the payouts, and said that it is 'wrongful' that taxpayers are 'funding a culture which sees disabled children as an inconvenience.'

"It is not wrongful that babies are born with disabilities," Andrea Williams, chief of pro-life group Christian Concern told the Mirror, "The Christian teaching is that all people are made in the image of God, with or without disabilities."

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter commented on the figures saying that although the NHS 'remains one of the safest places in the world for maternity care', on 'rare occasions care falls below acceptable standards'.

"As a doctor who has worked in maternity care, I am acutely aware of the pain and stress that can be caused to parents and babies in these situations, and the NHS should always learn from any mistakes," he said.