The NHS spends almost £700 on clinical negligence cover for every live birth in England, according to a recent report by the National Audit Office.
The number of maternity claims has risen significantly in recent years and the cost of insuring against them has risen by 80%.
With over 9,000 babies being delivered in Swindon’s Great Western Hospital in 2012 alone, insuring against negligence claims across England is costing the NHS nearly £500m each year. This accounts for one fifth of all funding for maternity services.
Commentators such as Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge said the cost of maternity cover was scandalous. However its necessity is widely recognised.
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said that the NHS remains one of the safest places in the world to have a baby. However, he asserted that care which falls below acceptable standards should never be tolerated.