Objectives Differences exist in obstetric intervention rates between hospitals but it is not known if the individual consultant governs the decision to intervene or whether intervention is a product of agreed protocols and working practices. The purpose of this study is to analyse differences in obstetric intervention rates amongst individual consultants working in a large maternity unit.
Methods Each consultant was responsible for all deliveries occurring in successive 24 hour periods. Over a 6 year period 20173 deliveries resulting from a spontaneous onset of labour were matched to the consultant in charge at the time of the delivery and analysed.
Results There were no differences seen in normal vaginal delivery rates (chi sq = 4.478, P = 0.812) and vacuum (chi sq = 12.232, P = 0.141) rates between the consultants. Significant differences were found in both forceps rate (chi sq = 21.462, P = 0.006) and caesarean section rate (chi sq = 24.535, P = 0.002) between consultants. When the forceps rate was combined with vacuum rate there were no significant differences.
Conclusions Within this hospital individual consultants demonstrated no significant variations in overall intervention rates. However, when intervention occurred, different consultants showed preferences for forceps and caesarean section.
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