Pregnant women to be handed £3,000 for maternity services such as Aucpuncture

Mothers-to-be will be handed £3,000 by the NHS to buy the services of private midwives under plans to cut the number of hospital births.

Home births, acupuncture and hypnobirthing would be offered by companies and midwife co-operatives in exchange for the vouchers as health chiefs aim to use competition to force the NHS to listen to women’s choices.