Women who want a private room after giving birth on the NHS can expect to pay up to £450 a night.
Hospitals offer ‘amenity rooms’ at four and five-star hotel prices to patients who would like a side room rather than receive care on a general ward. Some rooms include extras such as slippers and a stocked fridge, or offer private breastfeeding consultations.
Women are told they will still receive the usual NHS care given to women who opt for a ward. Amenity rooms at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford cost up to £450 a night, the analysis shows.
Hospitals offer ‘amenity rooms’ at four and five-star hotel prices to patients who would like a side room rather than receive care on a general ward and some women have to pay up £450
The Shere Suite – billed as a superior en-suite room for new mothers – includes extras such as toiletries and the use of a fridge. At the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, amenity rooms, all en-suite, cost £300 a night.
Oxford University Hospitals offers private rooms for £450 a night where partners can stay. Its other amenity rooms range in price from £122 to £255 a night.
Rachel Power of the Patients Association said: ‘These charges smack of the NHS’s ongoing scramble for cash as its inadequate funding settlement really begins to bite.
‘It also highlights that in-patient or residential care has a hotel dimension as well as a care dimension – you will need board and lodging, as well as your medical care.
‘For permanent residential settings such as nursing homes, distinguishing between the two might make sense, but doing so for acute care leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
The most recent Care Quality Commission review of 190 maternity units found 36 per cent required improvement and 2 per cent were inadequate
‘While there’s nothing to stop well-heeled people paying extra for luxuries, over and above that, pursuing money in this way surely should not be a routine part of how the NHS operates.’
The most recent Care Quality Commission review of 190 maternity units found 36 per cent required improvement and 2 per cent were inadequate. The rest were good or outstanding.
Last year’s National Maternity Review found that postnatal care after birth was one area where women raised the most concerns.
Louise Silverton, of the Royal College of Midwives, said: ‘We know lack of postnatal beds is often a reason for temporary closures of services. This service must be an add-on and not affect the availability of beds.
‘Also, it is important that trusts ensure women know what they are and are not paying for.’