Claims are coming to light that women are being denied epidurals.
In an independent investigation, the Sunday Telegraph have put this down to “a cult of natural childbirths” within six hospitals trusts.
In response, all six trusts have come out and defended their position, insisting they endeavour to comply with NHS guidelines.
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary said:
“I want all expectant mothers to be able to make an informed choice that’s right for them, to know this choice will be fully respected and to have the freedom to change their mind.
“Clinical guidance clearly states that you can ask for pain relief at any time – before and during labour – and as long as it is safe to do so this should never be refused. I’m concerned by evidence that such requests are being denied for anything other than a clinical reason.
“It’s vital this guidance is being followed right across the NHS, as part of making it the best place in the world to give birth. Women being denied pain relief is wrong, and we will be investigating.”
Katy Link, Chartered Legal Executive at Patient Claim Line, now hopes the Health Secretary’s words are backed with affirmative action.
“It is concerning that Women are being advised that “it’s not called labour” for nothing.
Anesthesia is not down to personal preference. If it is safe to do so, then the pain relief requests of a labouring woman should be heard and discussed.
“These women will have given great thought to their birth plan and what will be important and of assistance to them as their labour progresses.
“Moreover, childbirth should be an exciting experience for all concerned, not a punishment by withholding anesthesia from a number of Hospitals Trusts.
“I do hope that this investigation will provide improved care for all future mothers.”