A day after my blog post about Bupa's decision to only pay for cesareans in private hospitals if the mother's life is at risk (not the baby's), the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations (FIPO) strongly condemned Bupa’s policy changes in this press release: "In a letter sent to obstetricians and hospitals Bupa has advised that it will no longer pay for caesarean sections unless “there is a risk to maternal life”. This contradicts the NICE guidelines, which clearly state that emergency Caesareans should be carried out not only if the life of the mother, but also if the life of the baby is in danger, orif there is maternal or foetal compromise which is not immediately life threatening. Bupa will no longer cover cases where the life of a baby is in danger.
FIPO is aware of a mother who was pregnant with twins, one lying in the breach position and one lying in the transverse position. There was danger to both babies and the mother was suffering from severe fluid retention. Yet, even in this case, Bupa refused cover for an emergency Caesarean because they did not consider the situation to be life-threatening to the mother.
Geoffrey Glazer takes issue with this. He says: “This statement from Bupa contradicts its own guidelines, as in the letter sent to obstetricians and hospitals it said ‘in future benefit will only be payable for Caesarean section when there is a risk to maternal life’.