Specialist support for women during childbirth has been increased by the district’s NHS trust.
The amount of time consultants are present on the labour ward Wakefield’s Pinderfields Hospital has been increased from 60 hours per week to 98.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust said the move would provide safer care for women whose pregnancies are complex or whose babies fall ill during birth.
The trust, which also runs Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, said the increased consultant cover was over and above recommendations by the Kings Fund and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of a unit of its size.
Mid Yorkshire said it expected complications during childbirth and the number of caesarean sections to reduce as a result.
Martin DeBono, consultant obstetrician and clinical director, said: “It’s great that our service is leading the way locally by implementing these increased levels of cover.
“This change of working practices demonstrates the trust’s commitment to the safety of the women and babies cared for by our service and we expect to see a fall in rates of caesarean section and associated complications as a result.
“This represents an exciting first step in our plans to be one of the first trusts in the country to provide 24-7 consultant cover.
“We aim to offer this round-the-clock service at Pinderfields by next year.”
More than 3,500 babies are born every year at Pinderfields.
That figure will rise to more than 5,000 in 2017 under changes to maternity services which will see women with complex births transferred to Pinderfields from Dewsbury.
Mid Yorkshire said its latest Friends and Family Test showed that 97 per cent of new mums would recommend the service.