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The Observer view on how the UK has become a hostile place to have children | Observer editorial

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Parents are being forced to bring up their offspring in conditions that will have grave repercussions for society

It takes a village to raise a child, according to the old proverb. That may have little meaning for the majority of parents today, but the proper place for institutions outside the family in the birth and rearing of our children is a pressing matter indeed. And recent evidence suggests that government is grievously failing parents in many ways.

It starts even before birth. A new report, out last week from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), highlighted a worrying decline in women’s experiences of NHS maternity services in England . The trend comes in the wake of a number of inquiries into the appallingly poor maternity care on offer in some hospital trusts; it is estimated that more than 1,000 babies die or are left with severe injuries each year as a result of something going wrong during labour and the CQC has found four in 10 maternity services are providing unacceptable levels of care. This goes beyond the general resourcing and staffing issues within the NHS that have created its biggest ever crisis; it reflects a cultural under-prioritisation of the care of women and their babies that has not been adequately addressed by successive administrations.

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