York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire NHS trust bans elective Caesareans

Hospital bosses in North Yorkshire have banned elective Caesarean sections for non-medical reasons in a move they say will reduce health risks for mothers and babies and save cash.

North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT) said 114 women had C-sections for non-medical reasons during the 2010-2011 financial year.

The trust said natural deliveries were safer for women and their babies.

C-sections were also more costly, the PCT said.

It said a routine C-section cost £2,539, compared to £1,174 for a natural birth.

There were a total of 1,738 Caesareans performed in North Yorkshire during the 2010-2011 financial year, at a cost of £5,210,258.

If the 114 women who had C-sections for non-medical reasons had had a natural birth instead, it would have saved the PCT £155,610.

'Not natural'

Dr David Geddes, medical director for primary care, said women did not generally opt for Caesarean sections because of the higher risks involved.

But where a woman was requesting to have a c-section with no medical reason he said the PCT "shouldn't be supporting that" because the procedure was more dangerous than natural childbirth.

Dr Geddes denied the move was simply a cost-cutting exercise.

He said: "It's the reverse. it's about making sure the delivery of babies is done in as safe a way as possible.

"There's some concern about the frequency with which people are having Caesarean sections because Caesarean sections cause problems for the baby quite often.

"It's not a natural way for a baby to be born so therefore there are complications for the baby, there are certainly complications for a woman... and there are complications for subsequent deliveries and subsequent pregnancies as well.

"All in all it's something where there's a safer, natural alternative which is obviously what the medical profession would prefer to have."

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