Consultant care 'is no better than midwifery': Opposition to home births unsuitable for the Nineties, obstetrician says
Wednesday 13 October 1993
Malcolm Pearce, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at St George's Hospital, London, said there were too many doctors who were reluctant to give up their power base in maternity units. Hospitals need to employ only half the present number of consultants, and problem pregnancies should be cared for by a new breed of specialists in foetal medicine, rather than obstetricians, he said.
Speaking at a meeting in London yesterday to highlight the difficulties women face in getting a home birth, Mr Pearce said many consultants were 'entrenched' in the idea of hospital births and medical intervention. His efforts to set up a maternity unit run entirely by midwives near St George's had been blocked by senior colleagues.
'It is all to do with loss of power; being a consultant is about the numbers of beds and numbers of patients. There is no evidence that consultant care is better than midwifery care and it is a damn sight more expensive,' Mr Pearce said.
Offering women more choice about how they gave birth also made good 'business' sense in the NHS internal market, he added, with those hospitals supporting home and midwife deliveries attracting more women than those which did not.
Earlier this year, the Government announced a radical overhaul of maternity services, giving women greater freedom to choose where and how they had their babies. More home births and a central role for midwives will be introduced over the next five years.
The review followed a report by the cross-party Commons Select Committee on Health criticising the 'over- medicalisation' of birth which made it a degrading experience for most women.
Sheila Kitzinger, a pioneer of the home birth movement, said that the proposed changes were welcome, but women faced many obstacles and ignorance among doctors. She said many women who ask about a home birth are told: 'Well, I wouldn't allow my wife to have a home birth. . .'
Donald Gibb, a consultant obstetrician and director of womens' services at King's College Hospital, London, said there was still a strong perception among many members of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists that women who wanted home births and midwives who supported them were 'mad, bad or marginal'. He said: 'The Royal College position of being implacably opposed to home birth is unsuitable for the 1990s . . . There are high and low risk women and, having been informed of that, they should be free to choose.'
There was no conflict in wanting the best of both worlds, the benefits of high- tech medicine and procedures such as amniocentesis and scanning, and low-tech birth in the home, he added.
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 3 Katie Hopkins has just written a piece so hateful that it might give Hitler pause – why was it published?
- 4 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
- 5 Cancel Sky at your peril: man spends 96 minutes in chat but fails to get rid of service
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
80 per cent of Missouri town’s police quit after election of first black mayor
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...
£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...