Last night, I contacted BBC Complaints, and also the programme itself, to ask why 'news' of NHS Trusts banning maternal request cesareans was presented in such an unbalanced and one-sided way.
The guest being interviewed on Monday's show was Dr. Sarah Jarvis, someone who clearly had her own personal views about maternal request, and whose views went completely unchallenged during the live chat.
The programme will only be available on BBC iPlayer (20 mins in) for a few more days, so I have typed up the transcript of what was said below:
You can draw your own conclusions about what was said:
Alex Jones: But some news today that the NHS Trusts are restricting cesarean births, aren’t they?
Dr Sarah Jarvis: They are, but that does not, absolutely does not, mean if you need one, you’re going to have problems getting one. This is about women who make a choice. They say, I want, not I need, I want to have a cesarean. And NICE, the National Institute says, 'Actually, it’s got to be done on clinical grounds.'
Now, to put it into perspective, the World Health Organization says, ‘No way should more than 15% of women in a country be having cesareans.' In our country, it’s 25%, so they can’t all need them. There has to be a yummy-mummy, a too-posh-to-push effect out there. I have to say. And that’s what…
Alex Jones: And the too posh to push – that’s pushing up that percentage is it?
Dr Sarah Jarvis: Well, I don’t think it’s all to do with that.
Alex Jones: Come on Sarah… (smiles)
Dr Sarah Jarvis: Well I don’t think it’s all to do with that, but I do think that there is…(trails off) People forget - cause, you think of cesareans, you think of having a baby, and you think, 'Oh I’m going to come out of it with a wonderful baby at the end.' Actually, this is really major surgery. If it was any other operation, and you weren’t having a baby, you know, you’d have taken to your bed for a couple of weeks, you wouldn’t have lifted anything for three months. This is big stuff, don’t take it lightly.
(Dr Jarvis then turns to Luol Deng, who is seated next to her)
Dr Sarah Jarvis: You would never take a cesarean section lightly, would you? (laughter)
In my opinion, this was one of the most unprofessional examples of maternal request cesarean news coverage I've ever seen, and that's saying something.