Redbridge hospital in ‘chaos’ over maternity ward closure

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 November 2010

NEW BIRTH: Babies will still be born in Redbridge but many fear for not much longer

NEW BIRTH: Babies will still be born in Redbridge but many fear for not much longer

2007 Getty Images

HOSPITAL bosses stand accused of being in “total chaos” as they close a ­maternity ward despite projections of a steep rise in births in the next seven years.

The postnatal and antenatal Japonica ward in King George ­Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, is set to close its doors for the last time this week as services are shifted into the hospital’s labour ward.

Health chiefs say the ward will close because of a fall in the number of births at the hospital.

But in research carried out as part of wider plans to close all maternity ­services at King George, Health for North East London has projected there will be 8,000 more births in north east London by 2017.

That will increase by 26 per cent the number of births at King George Hospital to almost 5,000, according to those projections.

Labour Ilford South MP Mike Gapes said: “Nothing adds up at the moment. I think they’re in total chaos.

“I don’t know if they have any sense of what they’re doing.

“If fewer babies are being born, it’s because they’re being transferred to Queen’s.

“We have a very young population with young mums.”

He added: “I want to urgently talk to the health trust and find out what’s going on.”

Maternity and A&E services at King George are threatened, with a meeting in December set to decide whether to close the departments.

Conservative Ilford North MP Lee Scott said: “It’s another stealth attack.

“Little by little they’re cutting services, but if they think it’s going to work, they’re wrong, it’s as simple as that.”

In 2009/10 there were 2,867 births at King George, compared to 2,794 in 2008/09 and 3,312 in 2007/08.

A spokesman for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust said the same services will continue to be provided, with the changes benefiting patients by allowing parents to stay together in the same ward throughout their stay.

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