Year of the 10,000 birth: Cost of mum going private soars
Giving birth in a private hospital is becoming unaffordable, warns The Medical Protection SocietyDoctors have had to double their fees because of soaring insurance premiumsInsurance bills have gone up because negligence payouts have risen
14:20 GMT, 27 December 2012
Giving birth in a private hospital is becoming unaffordable for most parents to be, with the average cost soaring to more than 10,000.
Fees have rocketed because doctors are facing higher insurance bills, The Medical Protection Society (MPS) has warned.
The MPS, which insures doctors, told The Daily Telegraph that rising insurance premiums are making private obstetrics ‘unaffordable’.
The society claims that the reason for the soaring prices is that judges are tending to award bigger and bigger damages for negligence.
The average cost of a private birth has soared to more than 10,000 because many doctors have been forced to double their fees in the last three years
For example, payouts for problems during birth which leave babies brain damaged now sometimes top 10 million.
However, many private doctors claim they are being unfairly penalised for mistakes mainly made by junior NHS doctors.
As a result, some are now calling for a no claims discount to be introduced to protect experienced private doctors from the soaring premiums.
Dr Paul Armstrong, one of the most experienced obstetricians in the country, told The Daily Telegraph that the rise in premiums had forced him to almost double his charges to 7,000 over the past three years.
The enormous pressure on NHS wards is forcing parents to consider going private
‘If the insurance goes up, the bottom line is one’s charges go up,’ explained Dr Armstrong.
‘Significant numbers of people are going to find it very difficult to set up their practices and there’s the potential that this could put a stop to private birth in the UK.’
According to a report by the NHS Litigation Authority, between April 2000 and March 2010 5,087 birth related claims were made against the NHS resulting in payouts of 3.1 billion.
The report also showed that the number of claims rose by 36 per cent between 2003/4 and 2011/12, from 767 to 1,040.
Mr Ashok Kumar, a consultant obstetrician with a small private practice, has seen his insurance costs rise from 5,000 to 27,000 in a single year.
He said that it has become a nightmare as the costs have made it impossible for him to have a private obstetrics practice.
Mr Kumar is considering leaving the country and taking his practice abroad if things do not improve.
The warning comes at a time when the
Royal College of Midwives say that NHS labour wards are under ‘enormous
pressure’ forcing parents to consider going private.
Birth rates are currently at their highest level for 40 years.
Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, told The
Daily Telegraph that the NHS is ‘at the limit of what maternity services
can safely deliver’.