Capacity issues at Queen’s Hospital did not cause last King George baby parents’ wait, says trust

Mum Leva Zemaityte and Daunys Donatas, from Romford, with their first baby, Dovydas

Mum Leva Zemaityte and Daunys Donatas, from Romford, with their first baby, Dovydas - Credit: Archant

The wait in Queen’s Hospital’s maternity ward that caused a man to drive his girlfriend in labour to King George Hospital, where she had its last baby, was not caused by capacity problems according to a trust.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital NHS Trust’s (BHRUT) director of midwifery, Wendy Matthews, said the recently-expanded ward was not over capacity on Sunday night.

Daunys Donatas drove girlfriend Leva Zemaityte, 21, to King George Hospital to give birth because he feared there was no space for her at Queen’s.

He said: “There was no space for us and we were in the corridor.

“The nurse said it wouldn’t be long but after 40 minutes waiting and the pain was getting worse and worse and I told them we were leaving.”

Miss Zemaityte, 21, gave birth to their first child, Dovydas, at 2.19am on Monday.

Mrs Matthews said the delay was caused by the arrival of a number of other women in advanced labour “who needed more care in the triage assessment area”.

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All women arriving at the labour ward are “triaged” to see what care they need but in future low-risk patients will be able to go straight to the new Queen’s Birth Centre.

The target time for triage is 15 minutes and BHRUT apologised for the delay.

Mrs Matthews added: “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.”

Boards of health trusts BHRUT and NHS North East London and the City (NELC) rubber stamped the decision to stop births at King George earlier this month following a “readiness” report, despite objections from local residents, councillors, MPs and campaign groups.

Women will now give birth at surrounding hospitals, leaving antenatal clinics, scans and parenting education at King George.