Friday, January 18, 2013

Maternity Services in Redbridge

a birthing pool
Following on from the previous post I thought I’d better give you all an update on the Health Scrutiny Committee meeting I attended last Wednesday. I found the acronyms of all the various organisations within the Health Service very confusing so I’m going to avoid using them.

There was a very lengthy report/presentation by a Susan Jackson who is in charge of Maternity Services and who was appointed about a year ago to turn around this service which had been highly criticised by the Quality Care Commission. The bottom line is that this has pretty much been achieved although there is, as ever, more to do. You can never really sit back and say job done with these things.

The boundaries have been contracted [sic!] with expectant mothers in the west and south of Redbridge being pushed [sic!] into other Trust areas and using the Maternity Units at Whipps Cross, Homerton and Newham. The reduction in staffing levels reported in the press is a function of staff being transferred to those areas along with the workload. The staffing rule of thumb of 1:30 Midwives to Mothers has been maintained and is currently 1:29. There is also a new Birthing Unit at Queens for low risk pregancies which includes a birthing pool - which is about the only chance those new babies will get to learn to swim in Redbridge. Flexible working has been introduced and all the metrics and feedback from users of the service look fine. They are also looking very seriously at trying to increase the percentage of home births for low risk second or later pregnancies, which is what used to happen back in the fifties before clinicians persuaded women that they must have their babies in a Hospital.

So, it looks like the Maternity Unit at King George will close although that decision has not yet been confirmed due to the outstanding report from the Quality Care Commission expected [sic!] later this month. So, there will be no Maternity Services in Redbridge with expectant mothers having to travel to Queens or Barking and there will be no babies born in Redbridge unless it is a home birth.

The situation with Accident & Emergency at King George remains as it was – very unclear. The word being that it will not close until the conditions have been met – and there is no sign of that.

We also learnt that the proposals that went to Full Council on Thursday evening regarding the new governance framework was just a proposal to adopt the principle of the new arrangements which has to be signed-off by the Secretary of State. There is cross party agreement that a Health Scrutiny Committee will be maintained within those arrangements.


  1. is this in preperation for yet another load of newcommers ion 2014?

  2. You mention the birthing pool at Queens. I've heard that the Maternity Unit at Whipps is new. Is that correct? What are the facilities like there? This is all very unsettling for first time expectant mothers like my daughter in law.

    1. I'm afraid I can only report on what was said at the meeting. Members of the public can ask questions but *only* if they put their name down to speak 24 hours in advance. This means we are not in a position to cross-examine or question issues that arise during the meeting. That is the job of the councillors on the committee.
      You can find a list of those councillors here Click! and you csn click on their name to find their contact details.

  3. Maternity Changes in Redbridge. Find out more over breakfast: 30 & 31 Jan at Hainault children's centre 9.30-11.30