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Maternity Services

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate she has made of the cost of a birth without complications in a (a) birth centre and (b) consultant-led maternity unit; (73110)

(2) what steps she is taking to encourage NHS trusts (a) to support existing birth centres and (b) to establish new birth centres;

(3) if she will list the birth centres in England; and which birth centres have been closed (a) permanently and (b) temporarily in the last three years.

The information requested on the cost of a normal birth in a birth centre and consultant-led maternity unit is not collected centrally. Reference cost data are collected against three specific health care resource groups: normal delivery with or without complications or co-morbidities, assisted delivery with or without complications or co-morbidities and caesarean section with or without complications or co-morbidities. This information is shown in tables one and two.

The maternity standard of the national service framework for children, young people and maternity services requires national health service maternity care providers and primary care trusts to ensure that the range of services available locally constitutes real choice for women, including care in midwife-led units either in the community or on a hospital site. It is for primary care trusts and NHS trusts to determine the appropriate pattern of service provision locally, taking into account the needs of local people, evidence of effectiveness and available resources.

The information requested to list birth centres in England and on which birth centres have been closed either permanently or temporarily in the last three years is not collected centrally

Table 1: 2004-05 national reference costs data for elective inpatient maternity health care resource groups (HRGs)

Interquartile range of costs

HRG code

HRG label

Number of finished consultant episodes (FCEs)cost

National average unit cost (£)

Lower quartile (£)

Upper quartile (£)

Number of bed days

Average length of stay (days

Number of data submissions

N06

Normal delivery w cc

160

1,226.94

1,119

1,541

647

4.04

18

N07

Normal delivery w/o cc

3,720

902.71

673

1,365

7,098

1.91

106

N08

Assisted delivery w cc

54

1,280.46

1,174

1,635

233

4.31

13

N09

Assisted delivery w/o cc

703

1,137.76

684

1,499

1,822

2.59

31

N10

Caesarean section w cc

346

1,767.19

1,450

2,989

1,933

5.59

35

Nil

Caesarean section w/o cc

2,989

1,468.80

1,250

2,237

10,110

3.38

65

Totals

7,972

21,843

Source: 2004-05 Reference costs schedule NSRC4: NHS trust and primary care trust (PCT) combined/TELIP sheet.

Table 2: 2004-05 national reference costs data for non elective inpatient maternity HRGs

Interquartile range of costs

HRG code

HRG label

Number of finished consultant episodes (FCEs)cost

National average unit cost (£)

Lower quartile (£)

Upper quartile (£)

Number of bed days

Average length of stay (days

Number of data submissions

N06

Normal delivery w cc

21,770

1,576.22

1,112

2,103

75,771

3.48

224

N07

Normal delivery w/o cc

351,662

935.37

682

1,160

653,733

1.86

355

N08

Assisted delivery w cc

6,173

1, 887.17

1,517

2,383

26,458

4.29

179

N09

Assisted delivery w/o cc

61,450

1,309.17

957

1,524

160,860

2.62

217

N10

Caesarean section w cc

20,174

2,880.01

2,140

3,537

127,208

6.31

209

Nil

Caesarean section w/o cc

110,213

2,121.77

1,562

2,492

462,024

4.19

241

Totals

571,442

1,506,054

Source: 2004-05 Reference costs schedule NSRC4: NHS trust and primary care trust (PCT) combined/TELIP sheet.