Thursday, October 26, 2006

Homebirth in London "a pipe dream"

THE rapid turnover in London's maternity units could be putting mothers and babies at risk of infection.
That's according to a report by the Evening Standard which highlights the "conveyor belt" service being offered in London's hospitals.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that in one sixth of hospitals more than one woman gives birth in the same bed each day.
The worst culprits are Barts and the London, Homerton, King George, Kingston, Queen Elizabeth and St Mary's.

Critics say the swift exchange of mothers and babies could be increasing the risk of infection as well as denying women the support they need after birth.
Ten women have died after giving birth at a maternity unit in Northwick Park hospital in north London where health chiefs admit the conditions were "poor" before special measures were imposed.
More midwives needed
The report highlights a shortage of midwives across the UK, particularly acute in London where on average midwives are having to deliver 44 babies a year.
Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the Royal College of midwives told the Evening Standard: "We have estimated 10,000 more midwives are needed to promote the quality of care women should expect.
"The Government assures us it is committed to real choice for women about where and how they give birth.
"Sadly these figures indicate choice is not present in London and home birth is still a pipe dream for many."
An NHS London spokesman stressed, however, that maternity departments in the capital were all part of a network in which women can easily be found beds in neighbouring hospitals where necessary.
He said services in London were under review and plans to change the location and size of units were expected to be drawn up by next summer.


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