Women in labour were turned away by 42 per cent of trusts last year, figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show.

The figures, obtained by the Conservatives, show that one in 10 trusts closed their doors to women giving birth more than 10 times in the last year. Larger maternity units were the most likely to close.

Of the trusts that closed, 26 per cent had less than 3,000 births last year, the minimum for an "efficient" service, according to the government.

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