The Sunday Times
February 15, 2009
Hospitals curb caesarean birthsSarah-Kate Templeton, Health Editor
NHS trusts have … 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 … 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.
About 23% of deliveries in Britain are by caesarean section, and, of these, more than half are emergency operations.
The CS rate quoted is 23%. If only our National CS rate could be that low! In 2006, Australia’s CS rate was 31%, up from 28% in 2005. Maybe it’s 35% now? I was interested to read that VBAC is not an indication for elective repeat CS, but VBA2C is. Sounds sensible! I’d like to see something similar here in Australia. It’s a shame that here, a woman has a greater right to a caesarean, than a homebirth. We all know which option is safer, cheaper and more satisfying for mothers and babies. It also begs the question – how many women would opt for an elective caesarean if they had access to continuity of midwifery care?