The BBC recently reported that women at 75% of the UK’s maternity units are being denied their right to choose to have their baby by caesarean section delivery.
Guidance provided by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) states that women should be allowed to choose to have an elective caesarean section delivery even if it is not for medical reasons.
It states that if a woman requests a caesarean section delivery but there is no medical reason for it, she “should be offered appropriate discussion and support”. The guidance states that if the woman is making an informed choice, then a caesarean section delivery should be offered and that if one obstetrician is unwilling to perform an elective caesarean section delivery then the woman should be referred to another doctor who will perform the procedure.
Birthrights, an organisation that protects pregnant women’s human rights, carried out a study of 146 of the NHS Trusts in the UK and found that 15% of the Trusts refused to allow women to have elective caesarean section deliveries.
The study showed that Trusts in the East Midlands, including Leicester, are the least likely to give women the choice of having a caesarean section delivery.
The reasons women gave for wanting to have an elective caesarean section delivery include: having previous traumatic births, mental ill-health, childhood sexual abuse, or having made an informed decision after examining the evidence.
The chief executive of Birthrights, Rebecca Schiller, said that some women had been told that they could not have an elective caesarean section delivery because it “will cost too much”. The BBC report confirms that a caesarean section delivery costs approximately £700.00 more than a vaginal delivery.
The BBC report included a story of a mother who requested an elective caesarean section delivery for her second child, as she had a major haemorrhage when her first baby was born by vaginal delivery. Her request was refused and she had another haemorrhage during the delivery of her second baby. If she had undergone an elective caesarean section delivery, she would have avoided the trauma of the second delivery.
Moosa-Duke Solicitors are specialists in clinical negligence claims. If you believe that you or a family member have been a victim of negligence, both privately or under the NHS, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0116 254 7456, so that we can discuss your concerns.