Experts have voiced concerns about the unchanging high average rate of 24.6% for caesarean sections across England
According to Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb, the current C-section rate is nearly double that recommended by the World Health Organisation. Healthcare professionals have voiced concern over the fact that the figures reveal that women are being subjected to unnecessary medical interventions. Although most caesarean sections are straightforward, the operation is major and bears the potential for serious complications for women and their babies.
NHS Information figures reveal that a third (33.3%) of babies born at London’s Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust are delivered by caesarean section, with nearly half of the caesareans planned rather than an emergency. The Sherwood Forest NHS trust in Nottingham posted the lowest caesarean rate, of 15.8%, in the country – a figure less than half that in the aforementioned London boroughs. The discrepancy emphasises a regional divide between north and south, and informs the supposition that the England’s C-section rate is determined largely by wealthy women dubbed ‘too posh to push’.
Other hospitals in London and the south also have rates that are significantly higher than the England-wide average, of 24.6%. The figure for Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust was 33.1%, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS trust posted a 30.9%, for Barnet hospital the rate was 30.8%, and for University Hospital Lewisham 30.6%.
Norman Lamb articulated that a possible solution to curb the high caesarean section rate in England is to increase the number of midwives countrywide to ensure that mothers are given all the advice and support they need during and after pregnancy.