Maternity services should be radically reformed so that women receive the best care in the right place, according to a group of leading health experts.
Under proposals being led by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), more midwifery-led units should be created so that women with low-risk pregnancies can give birth outside of hospitals.
Consultant units should also be cut so that senior doctors can provide more 24-hour care to maternity patients, it is suggested.
In a letter published in The Times today, RCOG president Dr Anthony Falconer, writes: "In maternity, we need to co-ordinate services so that women receive the best care in the right place.
"Many women need only simple interventions, which can be done out of hospitals.
"This will mean more midwifery-led units and fewer consultant units so that the most specialist care can be concentrated around the clock.
"This must be done using a co-ordinated approach that combines national leadership, political courage and a thorough assessment of women's needs."
The letter is co-signed by five other leading health experts including Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing and Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners.
A series of recommendations on how to improve women's healthcare are made in a report published today by the RCOG.Reuse content