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Maternity 'postcode' lottery revealed in NHS figures

Article By: Grub4Life today reports that midwives have criticised the 'postcode lottery' in maternity care after official NHS figures revealed caesarean rates are twice as high in some hospitals as others. 25-11-2010

In some cases even neighbouring hospitals have widely varying rates of caesarean section, revealing that it is not necessarily down to the characteristics of the local population. The proportion of women having their first antenatal appointment within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy varies 11-fold, according to the data published by the NHS Information Centre. This may be due to women recognising that they are pregnant later but also reflects on how well organised services are.

Cathy Warwick, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said:

“These results show that there is a postcode lottery when it comes to maternity services, and this is worrying when those services are part of a ‘national’ health service. Women should expect and receive high quality care wherever they live, not care that is based upon chance and plain old good luck.”