Report highlights variation in care for hospital births in England

Report on maternity services suggests some women are not getting the best possible care

Differences in the care received by women giving birth in hospitals in England have been highlighted in a state of the nation report published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) this week. 

The report, carried out in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, shows 55% of all first-time mothers had some form of intervention during labour and delivery.

It also indicates considerable variation across maternity units in the types of intervention given and the outcomes experienced.

There was up to a two-fold difference between NHS trusts with the lowest and highest rates of emergency caesarean sections (8% and 15%).

The report notes that some variation is to be expected, however, after adjusting for risk factors, the results suggest that not all women are getting the best possible care across the country or that NHS resources are not being used in the most efficient way.

RCOG president David Richmond said: ‘We are concerned about the amount of variation identified in this report. Although the exact causes are difficult to establish, it is paramount that maternity units have information about their services, as well as the ability to compare themselves to the national average and to their peers.’

Click here for RCOG's new interactive website which contains data on maternity services in England. 


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