"I have had problems with the maternity services at Whipps Cross since the very start of my pregnancy"

About: King George Hospital / Maternity Whipps Cross University Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

In the past year they have closed the labour ward at King George Hospital in Ilford which has forced all women from the more Easterly side of Redbridge to attend Whipps Cross instead. In addition all the community midwifery teams that were previously under BHR NHS trust in this area are now under Whipps Cross.

From the start this has caused problems. From my experience, I would say that the Whipps Cross staff I have come into contact with have seemed to be quite resentful at having to take on these women who are from outside of Waltham Forest even though many women from the South of Waltham Forest are now under Homerton to compensate. When I had my booking appointment Whipps Cross made my community midwife hold them at King George hospital which is many miles from me. Then when it came to the 16 week appointment which is always held in the hospital ante natal clinic, I was told by reception staff because I had 'transferred from King George' (when I had not) that I was not entitled to have my 16 week appointment in the hospital ante natal clinic because that was only for mums living in Waltham Forest. They told me to contact the community midwives which I tried to do but after leaving various messages I had no contact for over three weeks and consequently I telephoned the Whipps Cross reception again where it was realised my appointment should indeed be in the hospital ante natal clinic and one was very hastily made for a few days later.

After most of my care was transferred to the community midwives things ran a lot more smoothly but then I was referred for a home birth with the specialist home birth team, something that until a few months ago was only for Waltham Forest residents.

Although I was not refused a home birth per se, the midwives I saw were so scaremongering and expected me to have so many additional appointments and tests as well as seemingly being completely unaware of the right to give birth at home, that it completely put me off and I cancelled. They then told me despite it being planned from the beginning in my pregnancy and me always being considered low risk, that I would not be considered for the lilac ward birth centre either as I would be considered higher risk by Whipps Cross.

I have heard appalling things about the consultant led unit at Whipps Cross and I would not be happy about giving birth there so now, in late pregnancy, I am having to look into transferring my care which is stress I do NOT need.

In all honesty if I ever get pregnant again I will be giving Whipps Cross a wide berth from the start - even if it means having to travel miles for appointments.

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Response from King George Hospital

I am sorry to hear about your experiences, and in particular the way the transfer of your care to Whipps was handled, due to the closure of King George to births earlier this year. The transfer of women from BHRUT to Whipps Cross was part of a plan by the commissioners to equalise births across all the maternity units in North Outer London so that a safe service was given to all women. We can only comment on the care provided at Queen’s and King George, part of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, and not at Whipps I’m afraid. However, I know that they would want to provide the best experiences for everyone having a baby with them. Unfortunately, it is sometimes not a good idea to have a home birth or a birth in the birth centre due to medical circumstances, but I would suggest that you get in touch with them again if you have more questions about your care and birth options. I would like to wish you all the best with the birth of your baby and hope that wherever you have your baby, that everything goes well for you. Flo-Panel Coates Director of Nursing

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