THE Warrington mum behind the Clara’s Law campaign can now properly grieve for her first-born child after national plans to investigate stillbirth and childbirth injuries were announced.

Caroline Tully has welcomed health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that families who suffer the trauma of a stillbirth, or whose children suffer a severe brain injury will be offered an independent investigation of their care.

The 41-year-old, from Penketh, had to fight for an inquest after being told her daughter Clara was stillborn at Warrington Hospital in 2014.

Clara’s case only went before a coroner in 2015 because Caroline unearthed medical reports that showed staff spotted a faint heartbeat after delivery. Despite being classed as stillborn by the hospital, coroner Nicholas Rheinberg ruled Clara had been born alive.

Since Clara’s death Caroline has been campaigning alongside other families for a change in the law which currently prevents coroners from holding inquests into stillbirths during labour.

She said: “It is really good news that independent investigations will now take place and that a change to the law will be pushed through next year.

“We’ve been campaigning for such a long time; this announcement feels like we have helped to make a difference and we can now start to properly grieve for Clara."

She added: “We were fortunate to get an inquest when tens of thousands of families haven’t been able to. We got those answers, so many others didn’t. When we found out that Clara had been alive, even for just that brief time, that’s where the drive to help other families came from.

“It sounds strange to say but it was a positive thing for us to get a birth and a death certificate for Clara – it meant that her short life had been acknowledged.”

Caroline, who gave birth to her second daughter Cora at Warrington Hospital in January 2016, hopes the inquiries, which will be run by the recently established Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch, will prevent other families going through what hers has suffered.

She said: “There were nine other stillbirths at the hospital before an investigation was launched into what was going wrong. Perhaps if some of these earlier cases had been investigated by a coroner, Clara and other children might be alive today.

“The hope is that lessons can be learned from mistakes that have been made. By investigating deaths or serious injuries, we should be able to find answers or spot trends to prevent this kind of this happening to other people.”

Out of nearly 700,000 births there are an estimated 1,000 cases a year in the UK where babies unexpectedly die or are left with severe brain injury.

A recent NHS-backed review of deaths in cases where the baby was seemingly healthy as labour began found in 80% of cases improvements in care could have prevented the death.