Harriet Harman has written to King’s College Hospital NHS Trust’s chief executive appealing for 24 midwife posts not to be ‘cut’ in a potential shake-up of maternity services at Denmark Hill.
In her letter, Harman described the community and caseloading midwives’ work as ‘wonderful’ and ‘highly valued’ by her constituents. “I urge you not go ahead with this proposed reduction in community midwives,” she said.
“These midwives are at full stretch providing a service which is invaluable for maternal physical and mental health and child health.”
A spokesperson for the trust confirmed the consultation, which ran from February 12 to March 12 this year, would involve restructuring maternity services at the Camberwell hospital; with no redundancies planned.
At the time of going to press the trust’s representatives had not responded to the News’ requests to explain how the proposals could affect expectant and new mums, and whether the plans would lead to less choice for pregnant women when it comes to where and how they give birth.
A spokesperson did, however, confirm the move had nothing to do with the trusts financial position – which has seen it placed in financial special measures by the Care Quality Commission due to its spiralling deficit.
A statement sent to the News explained: “The Trust as launched a consultation regarding its midwifery community service at Denmark Hill.
“The consultation will enable the hospital to continue to provide a high quality service to women at Denmark Hill, ensure more pregnant women know the midwives, who will be present during the birth and provide development opportunities for midwives.
“It is also part of the mandatory NHS annual establishment review of nursing and midwifery, and will ensure the Trust meets the requirements of the NHS’s national maternity transformation plans.”