May 19 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
The last baby at King George Hospital’s maternity department has been born to a hospital worker.
Porter Daunys Donatas and partner Leva Zemaityte, of Romford, welcomed their first baby into the world at 2.19am yesterday.
Baby Dovydas weighed a healthy 8lb 2oz and is now at home with his parents.
He has become an accidental piece of history at the hospital, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, as the last baby to leave their labour ward.
From tomorrow, mothers will go to Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, and surrounding facilities to give birth while antenatal care and scans will continue at King George.
Midwives are saying goodbye to the labour ward with a party this afternoon.
It will be a special occasion for midwife of 34 years Amy Lester, who has worked in King George’s maternity department in the 20 years it has been on the site and is retiring today.
She has witnessed the first babies born, a set of triplets, and the last.
She said: “There have been lots of laughs and tears over the years; it has felt like a big family. I’ve loved coming to work every day and have been so proud to serve the local women and their babies.”
The board of NHS North East London and the City (NELC) rubber stamped the decision to stop deliveries earlier this month.
The maternity department has been under threat for years but in 2011, health secretary Andrew Lansley said it could not be closed until the “right measures” were put in place.
Board members resolved that Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, and surrounding facilities in Waltham Forest, Newham and Barking are now ready for the transfer.
Helen Brown, director of transitional change, said the decision to close the labour unit was approved in principle in 2010 and steadily implemented.
She added: “The decision we are having to make is not about whether to make changes but about the safety of making them.
“We need to balance the risk of making the change against not making the change, because no decision is risk-free.”
Capacity at Queen’s has been expanded with a new birth centre and the Romford hospital’s maternity department received a glowing report from the Care Quality Commission in January.
Redbridge Council unanimously voted to “condemn” the decision to stop births at a meeting last week.
The council will now write to the secretary state for health, Jeremy Hunt, and the prime minister, David Cameron, asking them save the labour ward and scrap plans to close the hospital’s accident and emergency department.