Exclusive: ‘More choice for new mums’ King’s College Hospital insist

Katherine Johnston (03 April, 2019) Health

'Comments and feedback from our midwives have been used to adjust the existing service'

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New mothers will have more choice and not less, says King’s College Hospital, after fears were raised over a maternity services restructure.

As the News reported last week, Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman had written to the hospital’s CEO praising the much-valued midwife team at Denmark Hill and pleading for 24 ‘at-risk’ community and caseloading midwife posts not to be ‘cut’.

King’s, which had said no jobs would be lost as part of a possible restructure, repeatedly failed to respond to requests from the News to explain how the changes would impact staff and patients.

This week, a spokesperson confirmed the service would only be ‘adjusted’ rather than completely restructured, after feedback from staff.

“King’s College Hospital midwifery services will continue to provide the same safe, high quality and accessible service for women both in the hospital and within the community,” the spokesperson said.

“None of the alternative models proposed in the consultation have been adopted.

“Instead, comments and feedback from our midwives have been used to adjust the existing service.

“The changes to the service mean that more women see the same midwife during their care and it will extend its reach to more families.”

Currently, King’s offers a mix of hospital-based and community-based midwives. The hospital is now creating a new team to support women giving birth midwifery-led rooms.

This birthing option is for low-risk women who do not want to give birth on a labour ward, but do not want a home birth. It is hoped it will also mean more women get to know their midwife in the run up to their birth, and would involve a rostered way of working, rather than the on-call shifts worked by existing caseloading teams, also giving staff more flexibility.

The hospital will now hold a staff ballot, to see how many staff want to join the respective teams. Until then, the impact on staffing across the department is unclear, but the hospital expects any changes to be put in place by May this year.

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