£700 'to insure each NHS birth'

The NHS spends a fifth of its maternity services funding on insurance against malpractice, according to a report by the National Audit Office. The £482m figure equates to £700 for each natural birth.

The cost of medical negligence bills

The NHS spends the equivalent of £700 per baby on funding insurance against claims of negligence, the National Audit Office said. The average payment per claim is £277,000.

How does this compare to other negligence claims?

  • £4,000 for an unnecessary scar after abdominal operation
  • £100,000 for infertility
  • £140,000 for blindness
  • £200,000 for quadriplegia

While 1/3 of the entire NHS negligence bill goes to maternity care claims, only one in five claims is related to maternity services.

(Source: NHS Litigation Authority, data for 2012/2013)

Minister: 85% of parents 'happy' with maternity care

Dan Poulter
Most parents have given the NHS positive feedback about the maternity care they received, Dan Poulter said. Credit: DaybreakITV

An overwhelming majority of parents are "happy or very happy with the care they have received" in NHS maternity wards, a health minister told Daybreak.

Dan Poulter admitted there were a small number of births were "things can go wrong".

He also suggested new data about the cost of insurance in maternity wards had been oversimplified: "Less than one in a thousand claims in the NHS ends up with litigation but it is actually the quantum of each individual claim, the cost of each individual claim can be very high.

"There are very few claims but because when something goes wrong in maternity, and very tragically it sometimes does...you have got a lifetime cost of care for that particular baby because it may well be severely disabled."

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Union: NHS 'safe for pregnant women'

Jacque Gerrard
The majority of births are healthy, said Jacque Gerrard from the Royal College of Midwives Credit: DaybreakITV

Pregnant women should not be worried about giving birth on the NHS despite a damning report into the state of midwifery, a union chief said.

Jacque Gerrard from the Royal College of Midwives told Daybreak midwives were burnt out as they maternity services on the NHS were stretched thin.

"They will push themselves to the limit, that is the problem. They are burning out. We don't want to scare women. We are just reporting and feeding back on this report...which is underlining what we have been saying to Government for years, we need more midwives.

"But the mums that a pregnant, please don't worry. There are 700,00 births in this country, in England every year and the majority have healthy outcomes."

NHS maternity budget: '£700 per baby spent on cover'

The NHS spends the equivalent of £700 per baby on funding insurance against claims of negligence, the National Audit Office said.

The NHS spends the equivalent of £700 per baby on funding insurance against claims of negligence, the National Audit Office said. Credit: PA

"I find it absolutely scandalous that one fifth of all funding for maternity services, equivalent to around £700 per birth, is spent on clinical negligence cover," said Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP who chairs the Public Accounts Committee.

Read: Maternity report: 'Wide variation' in complications

Pregnant women turned away from maternity wards

Some maternity wards were forced to turn away patients for at least half a day because of a lack of space or a shortage of midwives, a damning report into pregnancy care on the NHS has revealed.

Data from the National Audit Office found:

  • An extra 2,300 midwives were needed on the NHS last year.
  • There was a failure to meet the levels of consultant presence recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, on over half of maternity units.
  • Between April and September 2012, over a quarter, 28%, of maternity units had to close their door for at least half a day.
  • Of these 11% closed for the equivalent of a fortnight or more.

Maternity report: 'Wide variation' in complications

There is a "wide unexplained variation" in complications with new mothers and their babies, according to a wide ranging investigation by MPs into NHS maternity units.

The Public Accounts Committee found:

  • In some hospitals up to 1.6% of women were readmitted as an emergency.
  • However, this figure was as low as 0.5% in others.
  • Infections rates in newborns also varied - some hospitals recorded 0.6% of babies suffered an infection, while it was as high as 4.2% in others.

Read more: Maternity claims 'cost £482m'

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A fifth of maternity budget 'spent covering error claims'

A fifth of the UK's maternity services funding - £482 million - is spent on insurance against malpractice, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) suggests.

A fifth of maternity services funding is spent on insurance against malpractice, a report suggests.
A fifth of maternity services funding is spent on insurance against malpractice, a report suggests. Credit: PA

The most common reasons for maternity claims are mistakes in the management of labour or Caesarean sections and errors resulting in cerebral palsy, the NAO report states.

Read: Baby blues: Mothers describe workplace discrimination