MORE women have caesareans to deliver their baby in Andover than the national average, figures show.

A report to Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (HHFT) board of directors details the percentage of caesarean births during the last year, showing it failed to meet its target for every month since February 2020.

The trust has a monthly goal for less than 29 per cent of births to be caesarean. However, for the last year the rate has been more than 30 per cent every month, resulting in the trust classed as ‘red’ on its traffic light system.

The highest percentage of caesareans was in November 2020, when 38.6 per cent of births at HHFT hospitals were caesareans.

The most recent figures for February 2021 show 35.3 per cent of births were caesarean, which the trust said had returned to its own average.

The data contains both elective and emergency caesareans.

Work is being undertaken by the trust to gather views of the obstetric team about caesarean sections to “complete data already collected from service user and midwives”.

It added: “Focus groups have taken place with Maternity Voice Partnership members to inform ongoing plans to improve the ‘Birth after Caesarean’ pathway.

“Teaching for midwives on discussions in community about birth after one previous caesarean section is also occurring monthly as mandatory training.”

Nationally, figures from the NHS for 2020 show that 13 per cent of births were elective caesarean sections and 16 per cent emergency caesarean sections.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Hospitals said that references to a "national benchmark" were in error, and that targets were not set by the trust.

Julie Dawes, chief nurse at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The maternity services at the trust has an internal measurement to predict the number of elective and emergency caesarean sections in the coming year, and a ‘traffic light’ system is used to code each months data in line with the accuracy of this estimation.

“Tracking this activity helps us to identify trends and understand the needs placed on our services, which informs how we can continue to provide the best possible care to the women we look after. At the moment, we are seeing an pattern of more caesareans taking place, which could be for a variety of reasons.

“We are currently reviewing how this indicator is calculated and used, and are undertaking a series of focus groups as part of this work.

“Our maternity services include a birth centre at Andover War Memorial Hospital, which women may choose if they are first assessed by their midwife to have a ‘low risk’ birth. Women with a higher risk of complications are cared for by our teams at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, which is where all caesarean sections take place.


“Providing the best possible care to our women and their families remains our top priority – each next step is decided based on clinical need and supporting those in our care to have the best possible experience.”