Early Notification Scheme process update: Improving communications with families

Date published:

NHS Resolution is committed to improving engagement with families who are potentially impacted by the Early Notification (EN) Scheme. This update outlines changes to how the process is initiated, and families’ experience of the scheme.

Seeking family permission to start legal investigations

In cases where the scheme criteria for entry is met, NHS Resolution will now seek permission from the family before commencing a legal investigation under the EN Scheme. This applies to babies born on or after 1 October 2023.

What this means for trusts:

  1. NHS Resolution remains dedicated to supporting NHS trusts in effectively implementing the EN Scheme. We will continue to provide clear guidance and collaborate to ensure a smooth transition to this updated process.
  2. The lawful basis for accessing medical records and relevant documentation remains unchanged.
  3. Trusts continue to notify the EN team once Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations (MNSI) has confirmed an investigation into a serious brain injury.
  4. There is an updated EN report form that has been in place since July 2023 which includes family language preference and translation needs. We have identified that some member trusts continue to use old versions of the form or are not completing the language preferences questions on the form. We encourage trusts to discard old copies of the forms, and complete the updated EN form to support improved communication with families. The EN team communicates with families and therefore it is essential that we are aware of this information.
  5. The family will be advised whether a claim has been identified through the proactive early notification investigation. Should a family choose not to pursue such a claim through the EN scheme, the option remains to pursue a claim in the traditional way, by serving a letter of claim.  The families retain the right to seek legal advice to assist them to pursue a claim via either route. NHS Resolution will provide resources to families outlining these options and these can be found on our Advice for claimants webpage.

For further information about how we engage with families, please visit our support for families and carers EN pages where you can find new resources, including a visual representation of the process, as well as a list of FAQs.