11 Jun

One of the most distressing things I had to do as a junior obstretric doctor was to attend the monthly meetings to discuss neonatal and maternity deaths. At that time many of the causes were unavoidable due to lack of medical progress and expertise in monitoring and managing complications of labour. Also, caring for the neonate was limited and often carried out by junior paediatricians without specialist training.  I was one of those junior paediatricians and was often left to resuscitate  and care for a neonate with virtually no training. Some of these precious babies miraculously survived but a significant number died with complications of prematurity and foetal distress which are now treated with success by staff, who are highly trained.

However, we still aware that their are  inconsistencies with regards to facilities and availability of trained staff and although deaths are significantly fewer every neonatal or maternal death is a tradegy for the families expecting to take home a healthy normal baby and every woman having a baby expects to survive. Hence, the overall opinion from the commissioning groups is that each maternity unit should have the most up to date facilities and highly trained staff to be available every minute of the day and night to address and problems should they arise.

I had three births under the care of the  Old  Queen Charlotte Hospital, Goldhawk Road. The first birth was after a difficult, long labour and delivery was using antiquated Keilland’s high rotating forceps and both my condition and the baby’s was ‘touch and go’ but thankfully we both survived. My second birth was a precipitant delivery in the antique bath on the ante-natal ward with late assistance from a passing junior midwife – my idea of having a delivery in a birthing pool which hadn’t been invented at that time – but much more cumbersome to get out of!  My third delivery was in the front seat of the car ( my husband was driving) ‘on the way to Queen Charlotte’s’  as stated on her birth certificate – a natural delivery with no complications even not needing stitches just so hungry afterwards that I ate my breakfast and my husband’s whilst he went home to clean the car! That was the nearest I could have to  a home delivery which were not available at that time!  She now uses the car registration number as her email address and is 29 yrs of age tomorrow! That is the reason why I feel pleased to see a much more consistent approach……


Moreover, as Ealing Hospital was unable to meet these requirements the maternity unit will be closing on June 25th and expectant mothers will be directed to another unit in Northwest London.

Uncomplicated pregnancies can be managed in the communitiy with improved support for home deliveries.

All our maternity units offer both consultant-led and midwifery-led care depending on the level of support you need. They all have birthing pools accomadati g families to be part of the event at the same time the most up to date facilities and staff are available if necessary. You can  also choose to give birth at home, where you will be supported by our home birth team.


Antenatal care is carried out in our hospitals, in children’s centres and in health centres close to where you live. Most women can choose where they receive antenatal care, although some women with particular medical needs may be advised to attend hospital for appointments. Women can also choose to have their postnatal care either at home, in hospital, or in health and children’s centres near where they live. Recently we have concentrated our staff and resources into six maternity units.

This has enabled us to have more midwives and senior consultants in our units to provide care for women, upgrade our facilities, provide more antenatal (before birth) and postnatal (after birth) care locally and offer greater home birth choice.

Your choices In North West London there are six hospitals where you can give birth:


– Chelsea and Westminster

– Hillingdon

– Northwick Park

– Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea

– St Mary’s

– West Middlesex

further details can be accessed using the following link:-


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