There has been a large amount of recent attention surrounding Patricia Hewitt's push for more mothers to deliver their babies at home. Maternal mortality in the UK is up 21% in the last three years, and this is progress according to New Labour.
It is nothing but shocking that 'The UK now has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in Europe, with 13 deaths per 100,000. Britain ranks below countries including Poland and Hungary, and is above Bulgaria, Bosnia, Belarus, Romania, Armenia and Albania.'
Apparently babies are 2-6 times more likely to die in home birth & birth centres. This is in low-risk women. It's hard to know exactly how much more likely the baby dying in higher risk patients is, but it's certainly above this former figure; and we know that some high risk women are delivering at home with independent midwives. If things go wrong the taxpayer pays the £2-3 million needed for lifetime care of the infant. One of the trials concluded 'Birth centre care may be less safe for infants of first-time mothers.'
There have been some very good commentaries on other blogs on these complex issues, many thanks to Dr Rant and Dr Crippen. On a tangent here is an excellent piece on the increasing inequality under Labour, contained within are some rather embarrassing facts about the state of health and education levels in young people in Britain today. Off at an even more obtuse tangent here, but it does show how certain journalists have no right to fill newspapers with their ideological drivel.
Back to the case in hand, this quote from a spokeswomen for the Independent Midwives Association is very concerning indeed:
“Most clients understand you can’t insure against things going wrong during childbirth, only against negligence, and negligence is not really an issue for us”
The logic is slightly misplaced to say the least. If doctors demonstrated this kind of attitude towards negligence then the consequent media storm would be immense. It begs the question: how on earth can certain midwives be allowed to get away with practising in such a dangerous and uninsured manner?
This kind of government push is negligent in itself, they should know better. The buzz phrase of 'patient choice' seems nothing more than a catchy soundbite designed to force through a dangerous policy that is all about cutting costs, not improving patient care; yet another wolf in sheeps clothing brought to us by HMG.