Third of Newham births are C-sections

Newham has the second highest rate of births in the country, second only to Chelsea and Westminster, figures have revealed.

A total of 34.2 per cent of deliveries in the borough, which has also has one of the highest birth rates in the country, were through Caesarean sections. At Chelsea and Westminster Hospital the figure was 36.3 per cent. Statistics released by the NHS Information Centre show the national figure is unchanged from last year at 24.8 per cent.

The figures for Newham reflect an increase from two years ago when just over a fifth of all babies were born in this way.

Hilary Shanahan, the Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Newham University Hospital NHS Trust said: “We are aware that our Caesarean Section (CS) rate at NUHT is high. The population in Newham often have complex medical problems that naturally increase the need for CS, for example women coming to us late in the pregnancy or missing antenatal appointments which contribute to late identification of complications.

“We are working very hard with East London and the City Alliance to make sure we fully understand the reasons for our increased rate and to see what we can do to reduce it.

“We are currently auditing all Caesarean sections we perform in order to learn and improve and we present these monthly to staff for constructive discussion and healthy challenge so we can learn form and improve our service. Our consultant midwife is also working alongside medical colleagues to ensure actions are taken around the recommendations coming from these sessions. For example the introduction of the new induction of labour guideline which incorporates the current advice from NICE

“As a result of all of this work our c-section rate for October has been 26 per cent and we are anticipating a similar rate for November.”

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Last year the Trust developed a Home Birth Service with the introduction of a dedicated team and recruited more Consultant Obstetricians to ensure that it delivered the “highest standards of care” to its patients.