Half of Wandsworth mums-to-be choose not to give birth at St George's Hospital
Mothers opting to give birth outside of Wandsworth are costing the local health service thousands.
Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group (WCCG) forked out £185,000 last year to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, after 30 per cent of pregnant women from Wandsworth had their babies there.
In comparison, just under 50 per cent of expectant mothers in the borough chose to give birth at St George's Hospital, Tooting, last year.
It is believed the large amount of new mothers living in Battersea generated the overspend, with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital closer to home than St George's, in Tooting.
Figures show the organisation underestimated the number of women choosing to give birth outside of Wandsworth in their budget plan.
A finance report published in December also reveals more patients than expected received acute services at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
When a patient uses services from a CCG outside their own, an invoice is sent the home CCG to cover the cost.
Overall, WCCG overspent by £552,000 on patients receiving treatment at Chelsea and Westminster, as well as an overspend on £56,000 for follow up appointments.
WCCG also paid out for services used at Kingston Hospital, Royal Marsden, Guy's and St Thomas' as well as Moorfield's Eye Hospital.
St George's NHS Trust's maternity services were praised at its annual general meeting.
The midwife to mother ratio is now at 1:27, compared to 1:33 in 2008.
Graham Mackenzie, Wandsworth CCG chief officer, said: "It is important that people have a choice about where they have their baby.
"For many people, particularly those in the north of the borough, it will be more convenient to head to Chelsea and Westminster and for others it will be easier to go to St Georges in Tooting.
"We have worked hard with all the hospitals providing maternity services to make sure there are popular and effective services across Wandsworth."
About 5,000 women a year choose to have their babies in St George's Hospital.
Teresa Manders, the trust’s lead for midwifery services, said: "Our midwives have been working hard to make the experience of giving birth as relaxing and pleasant as possible.
"Their efforts have seen written compliments to the chief executive treble and formal complaints drop dramatically.
"As well as positive endorsement from the public, we are proud to be one of the few units in London to be awarded the highest level (level three) in a rigorous accreditation which examines the quality and safety of our practices."
A Chelsea and Westminster spokesperson said: "Women have the choice about where they would like to give birth and at Chelsea and Westminster we are proud of the maternity services we provide and strive to give the best care possible for everyone who chooses to give birth here."
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