Mums slam maternity care in the East End

HOSPITAL care during childbirth in the East End was deemed to be in need of improvement, according to a recent survey.

Barts and The London NHS trust, which runs Whitechapel’s The Royal London hospital as well as Canary Wharf’s Barkantine birth centre, scored particularly badly in the care offered to women during and after birth in the Care Quality Commission recent study into maternity services.

Women questioned about the care they received in hospital after labour and staff helpfulness scored the service as low compared to other trusts in the country.

On issues like whether partners were made to feel welcome, mums were communicated to properly and involved in decisions, the East End’s maternity services got a score of ‘worse’ than other trusts.

However, care during pregnancy and advice on feeding the baby during the first few days was deemed to be on a par with other hospitals.

Around 4,500 babies were born at The Royal London hospital last year, with 90 per cent of the mothers from Tower Hamlets.

The hospital is currently undergoing a huge transformation, with a new building behind the current Whitechapel Road site due for completion next year.

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Maternity services will be overhauled, with more mums able to give birth there, more birthing pools and more en-suite rooms.

The survey, which questioned 110 new mothers, was carried out during the summer for all mums who gave birth in February.

But Barts and The London NHS Trust spokeswoman Angela Boon said the survey showed the trust had improved in virtually every area of maternity care since the previous report.

She said: “More than 80 per cent of women rate their care during pregnancy, labour and birth as excellent, very good or good.

“We acknowledge that in certain areas there is more we can do for our patients, and a programme of work that addresses the issues raised in this report is already underway. Certain changes are now in place with others being introduced as early as next week.”

She said all mothers now receive one-to-one care during active labour and more support will be offered to women in early labour from next week.

She added: “We are never complacent, however, and beyond these changes we will continue to listen to our patients to develop more ways to improve and enhance our services.”