WOMEN who give birth in the care of the county’s hospital trust are more likely than the average to suffer serious blood loss during labour, according to a new report.
An audit of maternity care across the country has uncovered “unexplained variation” in the number of women suffering severe complications including post-partum haemorrhages, one of the most common causes of maternal deaths.
According to the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit, 167 out of 4,915 women (3.4 per cent) suffered a haemorrhage in which they lost at least 1,500ml of blood when giving birth at facilities run by the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in 2016/17.
A further 1,751 women (36.2 per cent) suffered haemorrhages in which they lost at least 500ml of blood, also higher than the national average.
The rate in Worcestershire is more than four times higher than at the lowest ranked trust, the Dudley Group in the West Midlands, where only 0.7 per cent of women were reported to have suffered a 1,500ml haemorrhage.
Across Britain, 2.9 per cent of all women who gave birth suffered at least 1,500ml of blood loss, but for those who had a caesarean section the rate increased to 4.3 per cent.
Women who are obese, have a long labour, or who have their first baby after they turn 40 are more likely to suffer a post-partum haemorrhage.
Angus Thomson, a consultant gynaecologist and divisional director for women’s and children’s services at the trust, said: “Our services were rated as better than the national average in 10 of the 13 clinical outcome measures in the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit (NMPA), including the number of spontaneous vaginal births, the number of caesarean deliveries, third and fourth degree tears and episiotomy rates.
“Our rates of post-partum haemorrhage and major obstetric haemorrhage were both close to the national average and well below the upper rates reported in the audit.
“We have a rate of post-partum haemorrhage of 36.5 per cent against a national average of 34.1 per cent (range 10.1-50 per cent).
“The trust rate for major obstetric haemorrhage was 3.4 per cent against a national average of 2.9 per cent (range 0.8-5.7 per cent).
“As part of our ongoing efforts to put patients first, we regularly monitor all these outcomes and constantly look for ways to deliver further improvements.