National Audit Office - Department of Health: Maternity Services in England - HC 794

National Audit Office - Department of Health: Maternity Services in England - HC 794

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Since the Department's 2007 Maternity Matters strategy, there has been improvement in maternity services. However, there is wide variation between trusts in performance. The Department did not fully consider the implications of delivering its ambitions and has failed to demonstrate that it satisfactorily considered the achievability and affordability of implementing the strategy. Nor has it monitored national progress against it. In 2011, one in 133 babies was stillborn or died within several days of birth. The mortality rate has fallen over time, but comparisons with the other UK nations suggest scope for further improvement. Trusts paid Ap482 million for maternity clinical negligence cover in 2012-13, equating to around a fifth of spending on maternity services. The level of consultant presence has substantially improved but over half of maternity units (including all of the largest units) do not meet recommended levels. The NHS is also not meeting a widely recognised benchmark of one midwife to 29.5 births. The government has commissioned more places to study midwifery, but it is unclear whether these will be enough. Meeting the benchmark would require around 2, 300 additional midwives nationally. In terms of choice of place of birth, 79 per cent of women are currently within a 30-minute drive of both an obstetric and midwifery-led unit, compared with 59 per cent in 2007. However, choice is restricted where units have to close because of a lack of physical capacity or midwives. Over a quarter of units closed for half a day or more between April and September 2012Department of Health Great Britain: National Audit Office. 1.48 Our findings on closures of maternity services are consistent with previously reported data. Our Survey results suggest that closures particularly affected the East Midlands andanbsp;...

Title:National Audit Office - Department of Health: Maternity Services in England - HC 794
Author: Great Britain: National Audit Office
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2013-11-08

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