One in five hospital trusts found to be putting mothers and babies at risk

London is the worst place in the country to have a baby, according to the first review of maternity units in England.

Nineteen out of 27 NHS trusts in the capital were ranked as the poorest performers across a range of 25 indicators, ranging from tests during antenatal care to staffing levels on labour wards.

One in five of the 148 trusts surveyedwas found to be putting mothers and babies at risk by failing to carry out scans, discharging them too quickly or failing to follow up with postnatal visits.

All trusts were ranked on a four-point scale from best to worst in the review by the Healthcare Commission, the independent health inspectorate.

In response, the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced extra funding rising over three years to £122m annually for maternity services and said the worst trusts would have to produce action plans.

"The NHS has much more work to do to ensure women receive the most modern maternity care. We will be holding the NHS to account," he said.

Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, said "serious concerns" about maternity services had triggered three full-scale investigations by the commission and accounted for one in 14 referrals to its investigation unit on safety grounds.

"The review raises real concerns about performance in London. There are a number of factors that may have influenced these results such as lower staffing levels and the mobility and mix of the population. But London trusts need to rise to these challenge," she said.

Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust is revealed as one of the worst maternity units. Other poor performers in London include St George's, St Bartholomew's and the London and Newham.

The highest standards were in the North of England, where three-quarters of the 44 trusts were ranked as top performers. The top three trusts in the country were Stockport, Gateshead and North Cumbria.

The NHS Confederation, which represents NHS trusts, said the review revealed "deep concerns". Nearly all women received an ultrasound scan but four out of 10 did not get all the checks recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice).

Requirements for screening were raised in new guidance issued by Nice last April but nine out of 10 trusts are not meeting them, the review found. Trusts with the lowest number of midwives performed worst.

Gill Morgan, chief executive, said: "We believe that the choices mothers make about where they have babies... should drive patterns of maternity provision."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

    £26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Product Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...

    Recruitment Genius: Shift Leaders - Front of House Staff - Full Time and Part Time

    £6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...

    Day In a Page

    A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

    A Very British Coup, part two

    New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
    6 best recipe files

    6 best recipe files

    Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Atwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open