Baby born outside threatened Welwyn Garden City hospital

A BABY was born in the back of a car at the doors of the QE2 Hospital – leading to renewed calls to stop the maternity ward being closed, writes Kelly-Ann Kiernan.

One eyewitness at the WGC hospital on Wednesday said the car was surrounded by medics.

MP Grant Shapps was shocked at the news.

“It’s extraordinary, it’s absolutely crazy,” he said. “The population has grown 12 per cent since I’ve been an MP.

“Only complete idiots would think it was a good idea to close a maternity unit under those circumstances.

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“They’ve already begun building at the Lister, so this is a reality.

“It’s beyond comprehension how the Government and health bosses could let this happen.

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“We should be opening facilities, not closing them.”

At the time of Mr Shapps’ election in 2005 there were 66,500 voters. That figure is now at 75,000.

Mr Shapps said it was inevitable babies will be born in the back of cars or on the hard shoulder of the A1(M) and he will continue to push for a midwife-led facility to keep babies born in Welwyn Hatfield.

The East and North Herts NHS Trust runs both the QE2 and Lister Hospitals.

Director of nursing is Sue Greenslade said: “We understand all incidents of birth before arrival can be very distressing.

“When such births do occur, everything tends to happen so suddenly that it makes no difference if the mother lives 15 miles from the maternity unit or just down the road.”

Mrs Greenslade added: “The changes that are happening to maternity services within east and north Hertfordshire have the backing of the trust’s senior doctors and midwives.

“That backing is based on clinical safety grounds and is about improving maternity services, not weakening them.

“Clearly, if any of the highly experienced clinicians involved thought that centralising maternity services was a dangerous move, they simply would not have given it their backing.

“Since then, the trust has announced that �16.4m will be spent on making the Stevenage hospital’s maternity unit one of the best in the region and building work is well under way.”

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