An error in the March 2021 board papers referenced a ‘national benchmark’ for caesarean sections, this is not the case. An article reported in the Andover Advertiser subsequently stated that the “Hospital trust has not hit caesarean target for last year” and “failed to meet its target for every month since February 2020". The maternity services at HHFT do not set targets around the number of caesarean sections performed each month.

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.”