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NHS Hertfordshire Trust said it will not ban Caesarean births to save cash
As cash-strapped hospital trusts across the country ban hundreds of women from having Caesarean births, NHS Hertfordshire has vowed it will not follow suit.
In a bid to save money, a number of NHS trusts have said they will only give the go-ahead for a c-section, providing the woman’s health would be put at risk by natural birth.
According to reports, hospitals trusts in Herefordshire, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, South Staffordshire, Bristol, County Durham, Dorset, Derbyshire, Bournemouth and Poole are among those that have launched a crackdown on the availability of the procedure.
But West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has said it would never be possible to ban Caesareans and would not seek to.
Dot Lutkin, NHS Hertfordshire representative, said: “West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust ensures that everyone undergoing a Caesarean section has one for a clinical reason.
“Approximately half of caesareans are performed as an emergency and others are planned for a variety of clinical reasons.
“The trust works with women who have previously had a Caesarean to help them to be able to have a natural birth next time if this is appropriate.”
A majority of hospitals already discourage women from having Caesareans by outlining potential risks to both mother and child.
But in light of the fact that a planned Caesarean costs about £2,600, considerably more than the £1,200 cost of a natural birth (without complications), some hospital trusts are ruling the procedure out because of cost – not medical grounds.
In the UK alone, one quarter of all births are performed via c-section, a rise of nine percent from 1980.
This figure is in spite of campaign launched by the World Health Organisation that the rate should not exceed 15 per cent.
But according to a national newspaper, a one per cent drop in the proportion of women having the surgery would save the NHS about £5.6million a year, freeing up funds to be used elsewhere.
Jan Filochowski, chief executive of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, stressed that the trust has no plans to ‘ban’ Caesarean sections.
He said: “We do strive to keep our rates within accepted tolerances and in accordance with best practice, but the trust is not planning to ‘ban’ Caesarean sections.
“All women who experience the Trust’s maternity services are carefully monitored throughout their pregnancies and supported in accordance with the most suitable way in which to have their babies.”