SOUTH Essex hospitals have paid out a staggering £63million over botched births and maternity issues in the last five years, it has been revealed.

The eye-watering sum has been revealed after the Mid and South Essex NHS Trust - which manages Basildon, Southend, and Broomfield hospitals - was ordered to pay out for 78 claims over childbirth and maternity failings.

An investigation by Legal Expert revealed the £63 million in pay-outs is higher than any other trust across the country.

The figure equates to more than £800,000 being paid out per claim and equals more than 15 claims every single year.

Campaign group Save Southend NHS claims the “failures of executive management” is leading to “catastrophic impacts” on patients and leading to “high-levels of litigation”.

A spokesperson said: “As always, the ongoing failures of hospital executive management coupled with relentless underfunding and understaffing, results in catastrophic impact on patients and high levels of litigation.

“Serious and often preventable harm not only has financial impacts on the trust but shows that patients, their babies and families have endured often horrific traumas.”

Trust bosses have insisted “giving families the best possible birth experience” is the number one priority and additional midwives and doctors have been recruited.

Nicki Abbott, interim managing director for women’s and children’s at the trust, said: “Giving families the best possible birth experience is our absolute priority. We run the third largest maternity unit in England and support 12,500 births a year across our hospitals and are continuing to make improvements and bring about positive change.

“We are doing this by improving the quality of our service having recruited extra midwives and doctors, and working closely with local, regional and national experts and of course people who have used our maternity services including our Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnership.

“We also work with the newly appointed Maternity and Neonatal Independent Advocate to provide another route where patients can raise any concerns.”