Health trust denies lack of maternity space claims

Leva Zemaityte, Daunys Donatas and baby Dovydas

Leva Zemaityte, Daunys Donatas and baby Dovydas

First published in News
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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

A health trust has denied that the last baby born in a maternity unit which has now closed was only delivered there because there was no space at the hospital which is supposed to take on the extra demand.

Daunys Donatas and Leva Zemaityte, made the journey to King George Hospital in Goodmayes on Sunday evening, where their son Dovydas became the last baby to be born before the controversial closure of the maternity unit.

Mr Donatas says the couple waited for 40 minutes in a corridor of Queen’s Hospital in Romford because there was no room for his partner to give birth and that he eventually decided to drive to King George where he works as a porter.

In a statement issued today, Wendy Matthews, Director of Midwifery at the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), said: “I’m sorry to hear that Mr Donatas and his partner didn’t receive a prompt triage when they arrived at Queen’s on Sunday.

“We aim to triage every woman in labour within 15 minutes. However, at the time they came in, we had just had a number of other women in advanced labour arrive who needed more care in the triage assessment area.

“This meant that Mr Donatas and his partner had to wait for a few minutes, as the birth of their baby was not imminent.

“There was no shortage of delivery beds or staffing in the Labour Ward or on the Queen’s Birth Centre, with eight delivery rooms free.

“Capacity has been carefully planned to accommodate all the births transferring from King George, and this will be carefully monitored in the weeks and months ahead.

“Now that King George has closed to deliveries and staff transferred to the Queen’s Birth Centre, we will have improved capacity to care for women at Queen’s.

“The Queen’s Birth Centre has eight delivery rooms, and in future, women booked for low risk care will be able to come straight there without having to go through the Labour Ward first for triage.”

Maternity services at King George closed on Tuesday as part of a shake-up of services in north east London, despite campaigners warning health bosses have under-estimated future population growth.

Under the plans mothers in Redbridge will be sent to Queen's in Romford instead, while services at Whipps Cross in Leytonstone and Homerton in Hackney will eventually be expanded.

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