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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

    £32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

    Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

    £25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015