Update: A1(M) birth 'A chilling warning', says Welwyn Hatfield MP

THE A1(M) maternity unit has opened for business – just a day after the death knell of the QE2's own service was sounded. A mother was forced to give birth to her baby daughter on the hard shoulder of the motorway, as her partner frantically raced to the

THE A1(M) maternity unit has opened for business - just a day after the death knell of the QE2's own service was sounded.

A mother was forced to give birth to her baby daughter on the hard shoulder of the motorway, as her partner frantically raced to the Lister Hospital.

Fortunately for Ashley Welch, and Darren Munns, of Biggleswade, there were no complications with the arrival of baby Darcie.

But Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps said Thursday's drama acted as a chilling warning to what could become the norm for parents in Times Territory.


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Ironically, Darcie's birth came just a day after NHS bosses gave the thumbs-up to �16.4m plans to centralise maternity services at the Lister - which will see the QE2's unit close down.

He said: "It's inevitable more and more children will be born at high risk at the side of one of Britain's major motorways.

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"Even at this late stage I call on local health bosses and Government ministers to step in and block this insane and dangerous closure.

"Common sense tells us it [centralising maternity] exposes mums and children to tremendous risk.

"You don't improve safety by closing units down."

Lai-Fong Cain, senior midwife and matron for women's services at the East and North Herts NHS Trust, said: "In general, the number of babies born before their mothers arrive in hospital are very few.

"Furthermore, 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."

"What matters most is that once highly skilled paramedics have delivered the mother to the maternity unit, she has access to the very best facilities and specialists to care for her and her new baby.

"The changes happening to maternity services have the backing of the trust's senior doctors and midwives.

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

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