NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 1, 2008

Great Britain's government-run National Health Service (NHS), is spending £350m (about U.S. $695 million) a year to provide maternity services for foreign-born mothers, £200m (about U.S. $397 million) more than a decade ago, the BBC has found.

Immigration has raised the birth rate so fast that some maternity units have closed, so that midwives could be moved to areas of urgent need.  Other units have turned expectant mothers away because they could not cope with unprecedented increases in the local birth rate. 

  • When the Labor Party came to power, the NHS spent around £1bn (about U.S. $1.98 billion) a year on maternity services, with one baby in eight delivered to a foreign-born mother.
  • Ten years on, spending has risen to £1.6bn (about U.S. $3.17 billion), with almost one baby in four delivered to a mother born overseas.
  • While the number of babies born to British mothers has fallen by 44,000 a year since the mid-1990s, the figure for babies born to foreign mothers has risen by 64,000 -- a 77 percent increase which has pushed the overall birth-rate to its highest level for 26 years.
  • In central London, where six out of every 10 babies born has a foreign-born mother, senior consultants and health managers blame the lack of resources to deal with the pressures of migration for unacceptably poor standards.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics:

  • In 2006 there were 15,000 more Eastern European babies born here than a decade earlier.
  • The statistics go on to show that 11,000 more babies were born to a mother from the Indian sub-continent, while 8,000 extra babies had mothers born in Africa.

Source: Mark Easton, "NHS 'not ready for immigration,' " BBC News, January 29, 2008.

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