A dramatic improvement in the maternity care is expected, with a London- based NHS hospital willing to offer a privileged one to one service, for pregnant women who pay £4,000. The novel scheme would be implemented at the Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital.
The provision of such a cost-effective one-to-one service during final stages of pregnancy and labour has been a target impossible to reach due to high demand. However, it continues to be the gold standard in the delivery of quality maternity care as it can precipitate a substantial reduction in the level of epidural anesthesia administered and the need for an episiotomy. It can on the whole, make delivery a pleasant experience.
Recipients of the specialized service called 'Jentle' undergo the standard methods of NHS tests and screening. In addition, they would be entitled to enjoy 24-hour telephone based contact and home visits by the midwife. They would also be eligible to participate in four sessions of pre-natal classes. The birth rehearsal program is another added attraction.
The unique service has been availed by 74 women and has received widespread attention and appreciation. Availing the service before and after 32 weeks would cost £4,000 and £3,000 respectively. This is much lesser when compared to a mid-wife assisted birth in a London based private hospital that costs around £5,000.
This would not hamper the provision of maternity care to other patients as there are sufficient midwifes to cater to the demand. Several health agencies including the Royal College of Midwives have raised concerns about the provision of such services to only financially sound health consumers.
They argue that every pregnant women should be instituted the best possible care during pregnancy and labour, independent of their financial status. Furthermore, women who deserve this type of a treatment (poor birth outcome) are more likely to have a poor affordability. Therefore, the provision of such a service is regarded to be unacceptable according to the Department of Health.