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27 April 2016

'Concerning' birth care variations in England

A review of over half a million births in hospitals in England has been met with concerns over the variations in levels in care by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

The review of data from 2013 to 2014, which excluded non-standard deliveries, showed that between maternity units there was a 'substantial variation' in practice, suggesting that not all pregnant women receive the best levels of care. 

In some maternity units only 8% of women were in need of emergency c-sections, but in others the figure was up to 15%. Under one in five first-time mothers needed help with instruments giving birth naturally in some units, whereas in others this figure rose to almost three in 10. 

A statement from government ministers claimed that the NHS is a safe place for women to give birth and that the report would help improvements in care. 

Dr David Richmond, president of RCOG, said, "We are concerned about the amount of variation identified in this report and although the exact causes are difficult to establish, it is paramount that maternity units have information about their services as well as the ability to compare themselves to the national average."

Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Adviser of the National Childbirth Trust, commented, "Pregnant women should not have to endure a postcode lottery, and it is unacceptable these variations in maternity care are reported year after year. We urge NHS trusts to use this data to examine their practices and ensure the best possible outcomes for mothers and babies."

Longden Walker & Renney are experienced in dealing with birth injury malpractice and similar forms of medical negligence. In 2012, we helped a client win £5,000 compensation after suffering a post-partum haemorrhage due to placental tissue left in situ.

If you believe that you or your child has suffered birth injury or injury during pregnancy as a result of clinical negligence, call us on 0191 5666 500. Alternatively you can request a call back via our online enquiry form at a time that is convenient for you.