"C" Section Costs less than Vaginal Delivery

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Joined: 26 Feb 2013 09:59
Full Name: Kannivelu Badrinath
Name of Your College/Medical School: Madras Medical College, Madras, India

"C" Section Costs less than Vaginal Delivery

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The cost of treatment in the NHS in UK is escalating every year. We often wonder how the government is going to fund the NHS in the years to come. The costs appear topsy turvy these days as the report suggests that a planned C section is cheaper than a vaginal delivery. According to the report surgical deliveries cost at least £400 less a time on average, if the calculations include the compensation costs should things go wrong in either type of birth.

Last year maternity claims were the biggest area of spending for NHS Resolution, which handles legal claims. Maternity claims are particularly expensive because babies left brain-damaged by labour need specialist care for life. Although they represented only 10 per cent of claims, they accounted for 48 per cent of the total value, or £2,166 million. The study said that this exceeded the entire £1,955 million cost of all types of delivery for the year 2017-18. They found costs for negligence were about nine times higher for planned vaginal deliveries than for planned caesarean sections.

Michael Magro, an NHS obstetrician and gynaecologist and co-author of the study, said: “Obstetrics contributes to 50 per cent of the NHS litigation bill. When creating an economic model comparing planned caesarean birth to vaginal birth, it is essential these costs are included.”

Previous modelling by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has found vaginal deliveries, at £3,265, were about £700 cheaper than planned caesarean sections.

The study used data from Nice, NHS Resolution, and NHS Improvement. The researchers said that if long-term indemnity costs were included in models, a planned caesarean could end up being £2,000 to £3,000 less expensive than a planned vaginal birth.

While Nice guidance says that women should be allowed to opt for a planned caesarean even if their decision is not for medical reasons, last August research showed that women at three quarters of maternity units in the UK were not being allowed to do so.
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