Seven newborns given to wrong parents in mix-up

SEVEN newborn babies have been given to wrong mothers in New South Wales, with the devastating mix-up now confirmed by Health Minister Jillian Skinner.

The cases of misidentification were described by the minister as extremely rare, given 100,000 babies are born in NSW each year.

"Almost 100,000 babies are born in NSW public hospitals each year and over the past five years there were seven occasions where this error occurred," she said in a statement.

"The error was soon discovered."

Each of the mix-ups occurred in public hospitals, according to documents released to state opposition health spokesman Walt Secord under Freedom of Information laws.

"As a dad, I know about the importance of the first contact between a mum and their newborn," he told Fairfax.
"Mixing up a baby is devastating."

There was no data available on how many - if any - cases occurred in the private system.

Mrs Skinner said the affected mothers were offered counselling and support.

The babies were tested and breast milk screened, she said.