CAMPAINGERS have slammed figures which show Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) tops the league for Caeserean sections carried out before 39 weeks
The Royal College of Obstreticians and Gynaecologists says far too many babies are being born prematurely – at the convenience of hospitals – rather than letting nature take its course.
And their figures show the trust is performing more Caesarean sections on pregnant women dangerously early than anywhere else in the country.
WAHT, which runs the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, is top of the league nationally for Caeserean sections carried out before 39 weeks – 43.9 per cent of the total – in direct contravention of guidance from the NHS.
This says the operations should be carried out later than 39 weeks allowing a baby’s lungs to develop properly, reducing the risk of respiratory problems which could kill.
The shocking findings come just five months after health chiefs closed the maternity unit as the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.
Back in November 2015, WAHT closed the maternity unit at the Alex blaming a shortage of skilled staff forcing mums-to-be from across the county to travel to the city to give birth.
The figures come from a national audit of hospitals, and the results for WAHT pale in comparison to James Pager Hospital in Yarmouth, where just four per cent of Caesareans are carried out before 39 weeks. The national average across NHS England is 24 per cent.
Neal Stote, chairman of Save the Alex, who campaigned to keep the hospital’s maternity unit open, said: “This is a capacity issue and and there’s obviously a clinical need for it, for let’s face it, what they’re doing is not good for baby and it’s not good for mum either.”
However a WAHT spokesperson hit back at the figures and said: “The safety of mothers and babies is our top priority and all of the latest information shows that both experience and outcomes for our women and their new-born continues to be excellent.
“Our clinical teams work closely with mothers requiring C-sections to ensure that they receive the best and safest care possible.
“Whilst we were an outlier in 2013 for pre-39 week C-sections, the latest data from 2015 shows that the trust is now back within the national average,” she added.