Welwyn Garden City hospital to lose maternity service

PUBLISHED: 17:08 14 October 2011 | UPDATED: 17:16 14 October 2011

QE2 Hospital, WGC

QE2 Hospital, WGC

Archant

NEXT week will see the last babies to ever be born at the QE2 Hospital.

Maternity services will be shut at the WGC-based hospital and transferred over to Lister’s £16.4m unit in Stevenage on Tuesday morning, as the final stages of the development come together.

The QE2, which is due to be knocked down and rebuilt smaller – with downgraded services, first saw a maternity service back in the early 1960s.

The unit was then refurbished and given a facelift in 1998.

MP Grant Shapps led a campaign group to keep maternity services at the QE2 by creating a new midwife-led birthing unit, however it failed to receive the necessary backing of local GPs.

He told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Like so many other Welwyn Hatfield residents my three children were born at the QE2 unit, and I think that it’s incredibly sad we were unable to persuade the GPs that we need a midwife-led maternity unit at the QE2.”

He added: “I still worry that babies will be born on the hard shoulder of the A1(M) as parents-to-be struggle to get to Stevenage.

“It is my ambition to see a birthing facility back in Welwyn Hatfield.”

A spokesman for the East and North Herts NHS Trust said: “If a woman is due to have a baby at the QE2, or needs hospital admission prior to 7.30am on October 18, they should continue to contact the QE2 in the usual way.

“If a woman has booked to have a hospital birth, or requires admission to the antenatal ward after 7.30am on October 18 they will need to go to the Lister Hospital.

“Plans are in place for the care and transfer of babies in the QE2’s special care baby unit (SCBU).

“The QE2 maternity and SCBU units will remain fully operational until the last mother and baby have either been discharged as planned, or transferred to the Lister Hospital.

“All women booked to have babies at the trust have been made aware of the changes.”

The two-storey, state-of-the-art unit at the Stevenage hospital features both midwife-led and consultant-led units, to support 5,500 high and low risk births per year.

There is also a day assessment unit – which provides women, who need closer observation during their pregnancy, with dedicated staff and equipment allowing them to receive their care and be at home with their family – as well as a neonatal unit, which cares for early babies and those needing extra care.

Tuesday also marks the transfer of gynaecology patients from QE2 to the Lister with the launch of a £2.2m gynaecology inpatient service.

The 29-bed, ward 11a, will see more single rooms, each with their own en-suite bathroom and dedicated washing and toilet areas.


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