Maternity matters

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EVEN though maternity care is one if the riskiest services provided by the NHS, it has not received a fair share of the record investment that has been made available to the National Health Service over the last decade.

This is in spite of mistakes in maternity services accounting for more than half of NHS pay-outs for negligence, and the increasing age of pregnant women – as part of societal changes – leading more higher-risk births, partly due to the increasing age of pregnant women.

The Conservatives have already reneged on a pledge by David Cameron to recruit 3,000 more midwives, with an announcement this week that numbers in training will remain static.

Yesterday campaigners handed in a petition in Downing Street calling for improved care for expectant mothers, including more scans, blood tests and checks for infections.

However, this will all cost money, and with hospitals already making cuts in a new age of NHS austerity, there is little prospect of immediate improvements.

Ministers have ruled, despite opposition from midwives and consultants, that local GPs will decide how money is spent on maternity care. It can only be hoped that they do so wisely in the future.