Study expresses concern over variation in childbirth care in England

Study expresses concern over variation in childbirth care in England

According to a new review, there are variations in healthcare given to women when they give birth across hospitals in different parts of England.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists raised concerns following a review of more than 550,000 births. The review found "substantial variation" in healthcare between maternity units. The researchers said that the differences means that not all women get the best care possible while childbirth in England.

The ministers said that the NHS provides adequate service for expecting mothers and healthcare during childbirth but the review will help it improve the service. The review was carried out with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and studied official data on births in 2013-14 and did not include twins, triplets and pre-term babies.

The review analysed the different rates of emergency caesarian sections, instrumental deliveries and episiotomies across different maternity units in England. Some maternity units had 8 per cent cases requiring emergency c-sections but the rate increased to 15 per cent for some establishments. The number of women who needed an episiotomy ranged from 29 per cent to 44 per cent across the country while the rate for instrumental deliveries also differed across the country.

RCOG president Dr David Richmond said, "We are concerned about the amount of variation identified in this report.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 and to their peers."