There are too many babies born in traditional hospital units according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), reports BBC News. The RCOG’s recent report says that it also believes the current system is not acceptable or sustainable.
NHS managers agreed saying that maternity care needs to be reorganised immediately.
In 2009/2010 there were 652,377 deliveries in England’s NHS hospitals, according to the NHS Maternity Statistics. The RCOG estimates that to provide adequate 24-hour cover for these hospital units, around 1,000 extra consultants are needed. At the moment, most out-of-hours care is being provided by junior doctors.
“There is no doubt if you look at the worst scenario of serious complications, you need the right person, a senior person, there immediately,” said RCOG President Anthony Falconer.
By proposing to cut the number of hospitals, RCOG believes this will ensure there is 24-hour access for those needing senior doctors at the remaining hospitals.
Filling the gap left by this cut would be an increased number of midwife-let units, providing care for women with low-risk pregnancies and taking the pressure off busy hospitals.
RCOG Vice-president David Richmond told BBC Breakfast that it was important to recognise that “not every mother needs a doctor”.
These proposals for maternity services are only part of a big plan to deliver women’s gynaecology and obstetrics care into networks. The aim is to make the networks similar to the model that helped improve cancer treatments throughout England.
While The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) says it supports the idea of having a network that would provide women with joined-up care, it would prefer if pregnancy and maternity care were concentrated into one NHS organisation in each area.
Politicians need to be prepared to speak up to make a difference, the Chief executive of the NHS confederation said. “Where the case for change is clear, politicians should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with managers and clinicians to provide confidence to their constituents that quality and care will improve as a consequence of this change,” he said.
England, however, is not the only country within the United Kingdom that’s being forced to change its maternity services. Scotland has already began to reorganise its services and three hospitals in North Wales are expected to be improved after an initial review concluded it was needed.