Hospitals ration caesarean births to save money

NHS trusts have for the first time barred women from routinely having elective caesareans because they cost too much.

The procedure, which costs twice as much as a natural birth, will be rationed in Greater Manchester so that it is only available to women with specific medical conditions.

Some top obstetricians condemn the decision, arguing that, while it will curb the fashion for choosing caesareans to reduce the pain of childbirth, it will also penalise those who opt for them on the grounds that they are safer for the mother.

Caesareans have been placed on the same lists for rationing by the NHS trusts in Greater Manchester as infertility treatment, cosmetic surgery and acupuncture.

The lists, called Effective Use of Resources Policies, state that planned caesarean sections should only routinely be offered to women in particular categories. They include women who have previously already had at least two caesareans.

Dr Christoph Lees, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, said: “I strongly disagree with this prescriptive condition setting. Sometimes well informed women, often older and very unlikely to have further children, do request caesarean sections and it is unreasonable to refuse if they are fully informed.

About 23% of deliveries in Britain are by caesarean section, and, of these, more than half are emergency operations.

A spokesman for NHS Manchester said: “Where caesarean section is likely to be the safer option for the mother or baby, it will be the mother’s choice how the baby is delivered.”


One Comment so far:

  1. After working for 10 years in a very busy Australian pravite hospital (Operating Theatre), i could safely say i have seen hundreds of C-Sections. Woman choose them for various reasons, but the thing that everyone else needs to understand and respect is its their choice, not yours. Having a baby naturally doesnt make you a better mum or person. And every woman is different, from the mothers size, babies head size, babes position etc Tell me, when you go to the dentist and get a filling, do you hav the choice of a local?? If you choose not to take it are you a superhuman?? When will woman band together and just be supportive of each others decisions, and what best suits them. And sadly, yes i have seen a few babes lose their life in front of me because the mums were too stubborn about having an emergency c-section and refused until it was too late for these lost angels. Just think if these procedures (pain relief, intervention, c-sections) caused long term damage so you think they would be used? And just FYI i am a mum, and done it naturally, but to anyone who doesnt want to experience the birth of their child in that way, thats their choice. Please, just respect others wishes and be supportive. If she has been educated on all options and still wants to do things her way, then thats her choice. The last thing any pregnant woman needs is to feel inadequate.

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