Childbirth still one in four birth points at safety risk

Childbirth, still one in four birth points at safety risk

123 maternity wards below the safety threshold of 500 deliveries performed in a year, defined in the December 2010 State-Regions agreement. In Catania, at the 11th AOGOI-Italian Association of Hospital Obstetricians Gynecologists Regional Congress, for the first time technicians and representatives of the institutions meet the AOGOI Regional Secretaries for a discussion on a topic of extreme interest and topicality in all regions

It was December 2010 when a State-Regions agreement stipulated that, in order to ensure adequate care for deliveries and unborn babies, maternity wards in which fewer than 500 deliveries per year take place should be closed. “Not on a whim, but for safety reasons; in fact, small wards are not always able to deal with emergencies or unforeseen events that can still happen. The threshold of 500 births, also reiterated in last year’s subsequent Ministry of Health decree regulating standards on hospital care, derives from clear scientific evidence that relates the number of births and the health outcomes of mother and child,” explains Giuseppe Ettore, vice president AOGOI-Association of Italian Hospital Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Sicily Regional Secretary, who organized a day dedicated to the issue of reorganization of the network of birth points in Italy for today, on the occasion of the 11th AOGOI Regional Congress, being held in Catania.

“Six years on, for AOGOI the issue to always a priority, still to be completed,” adds Ettore. According to the 2015 National Outcomes Program of the National Agency for Regional Health Services (Agenas), in 2014 there were 123 hospitals operating birth points with fewer than 500 deliveries per year, about a quarter of the total. In 2011, the Ministry of Health set up a body – the National Birth Path Committee (CPNn)-which works to support the regions to implement the best strategies for reorganizing the birth points, while ensuring effective permanent coordination between central and peripheral institutions, according to the quality and safety of the birth path.

“A timely monitoring of the situation is also carried out, which, however, cannot be described as entirely rosy, even where it might appear so,” Ettore further says. According to the ministerial monitoring report as of December 31, 2014, an average of 5-6 birth points below 500 deliveries are still active in the vast majority of regions, with the exception of Campania (19 points) and Sicily (17 points). “For this reason, to improve and urge the long and tortuous path of securing birth points in Sicily, in order to lower the now no longer justifiable rates of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality, inappropriate outcomes and risks for professionals, we wanted to organize this day,” Ettore clarifies.

In fact, the national and regional Sicilian Birth Path Committee will meet in Catania to take stock of the neonatal obstetrical care network, with the involvement, therefore, of the Ministry of Health, the Higher Institute of Health and the Regional Department of Health. “However, the meeting will have an additional great significance,” Ettore points out. In fact, this will be the first time in 6 years that the CPNn will meet with AOGOI regional secretaries to hear directly from the voice of professionals. This will be able to represent a moment of discussion and aggregation on the hot topics of birth point safety, of extreme interest and topicality in all regions.”.