Green Party to review health policy after pledging to reduce caesarean sections

The Green Party has confirmed it will conduct a full review of its health policy, after concerns were raised over its pledge to reduce the number of medical interventions in childbirth.

The party’s health policy document said there has been a rise in caesarean sections, which it described as “expensive and, when not medically required, risky”.

A change to NHS culture is also proposed in the document, to ensure that “birth is treated as a normal and non-medical event”.

Green Party co-leaders
Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay during the Green Party General Election campaign launch (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Green Party health spokesperson Dr Pallavi Devulapalli said there is “no intention to stop or reduce medical care provision during pregnancy and childbirth”.

The health policy document on the party’s website – which was last updated in April 2024 – has since been taken down.

The website previously said: “The incidence of medical intervention in childbirth has escalated in recent years, particularly the rate of caesarean sections, which are expensive and, when not medically required, risky.

“We will work to reduce the number of interventions in childbirth, and change the culture of the NHS so that birth is treated as a normal and non-medical event, in which mothers are empowered and able to be in control.”

In response to concerns raised about the wording and intent of the policy, Dr Devulapalli wrote on X: “There is no intention to stop or reduce medical care provision during pregnancy and childbirth.”

Before adding: “The policy is currently in draft form, we will re-examine this statement to ensure it doesn’t convey any unintended messages.”

A party spokesperson told the PA news agency there would be a “full review” of the party’s health policy which is “out of date”.

Speaking to LBC radio on Monday, Dr Devulapalli, who is standing for election in South West Norfolk, said the party wants to “acknowledge the biological process but also ensure that everyone gets access to the best healthcare”.

She added: “We want the best outcomes for all mothers and babies when it comes to maternal care, we also want women to be involved in decision making about their care and for their views to be respected.

“But ultimately we completely understand that on the one hand, childbirth is natural and it’s what it is, but also that advances in healthcare has meant that childbirth has become much safer for women in this day and age, and the Green Party is very keen that we take advantage of all the advances that we’ve made to ensure good outcomes for everyone.”