Dozens of hospitals 'turn away women in labour', new figures reveal

Lack of beds force NHS maternity wards to turn women away to have their babies. Credit: PA

Dozens of NHS maternity units turned women in labour away due to a lack of beds in 2015, new figures reveal.

As many as 45 out of 93 units closed their doors at least once this year, with some women being forced to travel up to 50 miles to have their babies.

The data was obtained by shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander using Freedom of Information (FOI) laws.

The newspaper said women were turned away on at least 575 occasions, compared with 461 times in 2014. Leeds NHS trust reportedly turned women away 220 times this year, according to the data.

Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander told ITV News the figures indicated that the NHS was "going backwards under David Cameron".

In 2010, the Prime Minister promised to recruit 3,000 more midwives and that hasn't happened.

Heidi Alexander, shadow health secretary
45

NHS maternity units turned away women in labour in the past year

575

Number of occasions women were forced to travel elsewhere to give birth in 2015

A Department of Health spokesman told the Mail the NHS "is undertaking a major review of maternity services."

We expect all mums and mums-to-be to receive high quality, safe care when they need it.

Spokesman for the Department of Health

The FOI request obtained responses from 93 of the 138 maternity units in the country.