More than 40% of maternity wards in England closed their doors to expectant mothers at least once in 2016, reports today suggest.
Responding to a Freedom of Information request, 42 out of 96 trusts said they had shut maternity wards temporarily on a total of 382 occasions.
The most common reasons given were too few staff and not enough beds.
Today’s report follows on from news that errors during childbirth account for 50 per cent of the value of claims against the NHS. As far as I’m concerned, the question is not why are there so many claims but why are there so many errors in childbirth in today’s society?
With modern technology, knowledge and equipment this just shouldn’t be happening. Giving birth should be safe. There can be no more joyous occasion.
NHS Trusts need to look closely at what is going wrong with our systems and procedures. If cases did not highlight this problem no one would be the wiser. Should there be a Parliamentary Inquiry into the dire state of our maternity wards? Have we reached the critical point where there are too many new births per year for the system to cope? I suspect the answer to both questions is “yes”.