DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Betrayal of pregnant women shames NHS

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Betrayal of pregnant women shames NHS

A basic test of a civilised society is that a woman can receive the best care during childbirth. It is unforgivable that too often this country is failing it.

A damning study has found that mothers in Britain are significantly more likely to die during pregnancy, or soon after, than in comparable parts of Europe. Worse, the number is rising sharply.

This is not only a shocking indictment of the care provided by an NHS which gobbles down unjustifiable billions. It is also a shameful betrayal of women at arguably the most vulnerable time of their lives.

True, expectant mothers here are more likely to be older or obese, which increases the mortality risk. But these two factors cannot explain away this scandal.

A study has found that mothers in Britain are significantly more likely to die during pregnancy

The truth is, catastrophic failings in maternity units have been responsible for the avoidable death or serious injury of hundreds of women and their babies.

The same threads run through all these outrages: Bullying doctors and midwives, dangerous understaffing, inadequate training, cover-ups of mistakes by hospital management to avoid blame and a failure to listen to patients’ concerns.

Then there is the toxic obsession with natural births in preference to medical interventions such as caesareans. And on top of that is the lack of post-natal care for women at risk of becoming suicidal.

The Government has promised to introduce changes. The health of the mother and child should always come first. Worryingly often, it seems to come last.

A brutal Budget

Today’s Budget will be the third set piece from a chancellor in a year. And thanks to the usual round of leaks, it’s clear it will be one of the most brutal in history.

Jeremy Hunt wants to rebuild the Tories’ reputation for fiscal responsibility with spine-chilling tax rises and spending cuts.

But if he throws the baby out with the bathwater after the mini-Budget shambles, he risks worsening the looming recession.

The Tories are meant to be the party of low taxes, small state, high growth, industriousness and ambition. If there is nothing in his statement to encourage that, what will be the point of voting for them?

Rewards for failure

It defies credulity that in 21st century Britain a two-year-old boy could die from exposure to mould in his home.

So it is repugnant Gareth Swarbrick, the housing association boss responsible for the tragedy, is still in his £185,000-a-year job.

Sadly, it is no surprise. From the Baby P scandal to the grooming gangs, there is a history of public employees avoiding blame.

Just how dramatically do they have to fail before they’re disqualified from being rewarded at taxpayers’ expense?

  • Not long ago, Britain’s spymasters existed in the shadows. Today they see the benefits of informing the public of the biggest threats to our way of life – a move to be warmly welcomed. Yesterday, our impressive MI5 chief Ken McCallum warned that Iran has plotted to assassinate critics on UK soil and of the far-Right menace. His MI6 counterpart, meanwhile, has highlighted the danger authoritarian China poses to global security. Before Beijing beguiles him, Rishi Sunak should remember those portentous words.
  • In a refreshing outbreak of sound judgment, universities minister Robert Halfon has denounced attempts by Left-wing ideologues to ‘decolonise’ degree courses. He’s right. Teaching subjects through the negative prism of race and inequality will only weaken educational standards and alienate students. If academia’s woke warriors really want to deliver ‘social justice’, they’d focus on helping all undergraduates into good jobs.

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