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No more births at Redbridge’s only maternity unit from ‘early 2013’, health chiefs decide

PUBLISHED: 18:27 20 September 2012 | UPDATED: 18:31 20 September 2012

King George Hospital

King George Hospital

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There will be no more births at Redbridge’s only maternity unit from early next year, it has been revealed.

There will be no more births at Redbridge’s only maternity unit from early next year, it has been revealed.

Sweeping changes to maternity services across north-east London mean the unit at King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, will no longer carry out deliveries.

The plans have been in the pipeline for years, and were agreed – subject to certain tests being passed – by the then health secretary Andrew Lansley in October.

But the time frame of “early 2013”, which was announced this afternoon, is the first time any indication of when the changes will take place has been given,

Approval for the widespread plans was given yesterday by the board of NHS North East London and the City (NELC), which incorporates Redbridge.

The end of births in Redbridge will “enable the NHS locally to concentrate services for medium to high risk deliveries on fewer sites”, according to NELC.

The primary care trust says some women in Redbridge will be asked to give birth elsewhere, including Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone.

Women in Barking and Waltham Forest will also be asked to give birth at alternative hospitals.

A new midwifery-led unit at Queen’s Hospital, Romford is planned as well as “new planned services” at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel.

Commissioning support director Helen Brown said: “The birth rate in our area is rising and we can’t leave things as they are.

“Maternity units across the area will have a limit on how many births they can handle each year.

“Most women across north east London will notice no difference at all to their plans or the birth of their baby and many of those women who’ll be asked to go to a different hospital actually live closer to those hospitals in any case.”

She added: “We know change like this can cause anxiety, so we want to reassure women that the reason we’re making these changes to maternity is to ensure all local women get the safe, high-quality service they deserve.”

Last year, then health secretary Mr Lansley said the closure of services at King George would not happen until the health trust met certain criteria laid down by the Care Quality Commission, which had raised a raft of concerns about the maternity unit at Queen’s.

The same was said of the hospital’s accident and emergency, which is also earmarked for closure, though no timeline for this has been given.

The issue of service changes at King George is due to be debated tonight at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford from 7.15pm during a meeting of full council.

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