Welwyn Garden City maternity unit closure is ‘sad’ – NHS stalwart

PUBLISHED: 13:30 22 October 2011

Richard Harman, director of strategic estates

Richard Harman, director of strategic estates


A STALWART of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, who has been one of the key figures in the move of major services from the QE2 to the Lister, says the closure of the maternity ward in WGC has been particularly close to his heart.

As the trust’s director of strategic estates, Richard Harman’s role is one which has seen him help to design the new maternity unit at Lister and move services from the QE2.

However, Mr Harman, who has worked at the Lister since 1991 and has been involved with the QE2 since 2000, with the coming together of the trusts, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times closing the birthing centre in WGC has been “quite personal”, as it was where he and his wife had their five children.

“We started using the maternity facility in the mid 80s, and we saw a lot of the place in a short period of time,” he said.

“I have fond memories of it.

“The level of care was always excellent and it was always a wonderful experience, especially in terms of the staff.

“We had no form of criticism and always came away very satisfied. Having a baby is about the best thing you can go into hospital for and we always left a donation on our way out.

“We had four boys first and one girl. Our girl went into the Special Care Baby Unit and again the nurses and doctors were great. We always felt so elated with everything.”

He added: “My recollection of the service was, even back then, that it was quite an old-fashioned method of care.

“Mum would be taken to the ward and then she’d eventually end up at the delivery suite and then back on the ward after; things have progressed somewhat since then, with technology.

“Most of our kids were born in the summer and I also remember it always being stiflingly hot in there, but there was wonderful views of the woodland below.”

Mr Harman said: “So overall it’s been a quite personal experience and while I am excited about the new unit, it will be sad to see the maternity service at the QE2 close.”

For a thorough, two-page, round-up of the closure of the QE2’s maternity unit buy this week’s Welwyn Hatfield Times.

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