The Observer of 23/10/04 features an unpublished Cambridge University survey which suggests that that fear of legal action is a major factor behind the rising number of caesarean sections performed during childbirth. The high rates of caesarean sections in the UK , which are up to 28 per cent of all births in some trusts, may have less to do with women choosing an operation, and more to do with doctors' anxieties about being sued. Two-thirds of obstetricians admitted that such anxieties influenced their decision.
However, the perception that patients are becoming more litigious is a myth not born out by the statistics, according to experts. The number of legal claims against NHS trusts actually fell by 20 per cent last year.