MIDWIVES are warning that NHS hospitals providing luxury rooms for new mums at up to £450 a night could create a two-tier system in the quality of care.
Women who want a private room after giving birth on the NHS, rather than receiving care on a ward, are being offered “amenity rooms” at prices like those of four- and five-star hotels.
Some rooms include extras such as slippers, toiletries and a stocked fridge, or offer private consultations.
According to the hospitals, women are told they will receive the usual NHS care given to those who opt for a ward.
Amenity rooms at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford and at Oxford University Hospitals cost up to £450 a night. At the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London, en-suite amenity rooms cost £300 per night.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) expressed concern that midwives may feel the need to provide extra care to women who have shelled out for a room.
Director for midwifery at the RCM Louise Silverton said: “We know lack of postnatal beds is often a reason for temporary closures of services.
“This service must be an add-on and not affect the availability of beds.
“I would also stress that any money earned from such schemes should be reinvested directly into the maternity service of the trust and not lost and absorbed into other services.”
The Royal Surrey Hospital claims that income from the rooms is invested directly back into maternity care and that anyone paying could be asked to leave if the room is needed by someone with a greater medical need.
The Patients Association said the practice of charging hundreds of pounds for a room showed the NHS had an “ongoing scramble” for cash and said pursuing money in this way should not become a “routine part of how the NHS operates.”
The most recent Care Quality Commission review of 190 maternity units found 36 per cent required improvement, 2 per cent were inadequate, 57 per cent were good and 4 per cent were outstanding.
Last year’s National Maternity Review found that postnatal care was one area where women raised the most concerns and improvement was needed.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.