Radical maternity shake-up to widen childbirth choice
Home births should become routinely available to pregnant women with minimal risks of complications, and medical interventions should not be carried out without good clinical reasons, the Government said. About 96 per cent of babies are delivered in district general hospitals.
An expert committee will be appointed shortly by the Department of Health to review policy on care during childbirth, particularly to reassess the relative contributions made by the GPs, midwives and obstetricians. Health ministers are also to establish a task force to examine management of maternity care.
The Government's determination to guarantee choice for women over where and how to give birth was spelt out in its response to the critical Commons health select committee report on maternity services earlier this year. MPs accused health care professionals of providing 'over- medicalised' services that degraded the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, treating them in some areas like 'illnesses' rather than part of normal, healthy life.
Brian Mawhinney, Minister of State for Health, yesterday appeared to acknowledge that many of the criticisms were justified, and spoke of the need to empower women to take more decisions about the care they received.
'Pregnancy, childbirth and the early years of life are no longer the hazardous experiences they were in times past. The rate of perinatal and infant mortality is at the lowest level ever. Doctors, nurses and midwives can be justifiably proud of the services they provide,' he said.
The expert committee is to be chaired by a woman independent of the professions involved, and will include several representatives of the users of maternity services. The all-party select committee's complaints about 'demarcation disputes' between professionals attending women in labour will be examined by the new group.
Mr Mawhinney said the expert committee would be asked to take 'full account of the shift in attitudes of many women in favour of a more homely and less technological setting for care, while not compromising the safety of mothers and babies.'
The Department of Health yesterday accepted that all pregnant women should be given birth plans tailored to their own views on acceptable interventions such as epidurals. There should be continuity of care, with one person responsible for a patient's care throughout.
The Royal College of Midwives welcomed the response as an endorsement of its views that women should have as much choice as possible over the manner and place of delivery.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists described the Government's response to the report as 'very responsible'.
Maternity Services, a Government response to the second report from the health committee; HMSO; pounds 6.25
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 3 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Israel-Gaza conflict: Death toll tops 125 after overnight raids as Operation Protective Edge continues
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators take to streets of London, Paris and New York in wave of protests
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...