“The Council for Equal Opportunities for Men and Women deplores the government’s decision to reduce the hospital stay after giving birth by a day”, it said in a memo published on Wednesday. “Going home sooner will lead to a considerable rise in the cost of maternity care”, it says. The health minister Maggie De Block wants to reduce the hospital stay after giving birth to three days, one day less than today.
“This measure aims to reduce hospital costs linked to giving birth by concentrating on the obstetrical aspects of it”, the Council for Equal Opportunities explains. They see it having the opposite effect. “This measure is to do with a “family privatisation” of costs which are currently, theoretically, covered by social security”, the Council says. “For all these new mothers, this early return home will lead to an increase in the cost of maternity care (paediatrician costs, midwives, physiotherapists, etc)”.
“By publishing this memo, the Council is calling for indispensable extra measures to be put in place immediately to help the new child settle into the family”, it says. “We need to guarantee quality healthcare that is comparable to what is given in hospital, before and after giving birth”.