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ICB maternity plan risks increasing deaths, senior medics claim

The medical leaders of the maternity unit of a flagship hospital threatened with closure have written to their chief executive saying the downgrade would not be safe, HSJ has learned.

Nineteen obstetric and gynaecological staff, including the clinical director, wrote to the chair and CEO of the Royal Free London Foundation Trust this week saying the proposals to shutter services at the trust’s main site in Hampstead would increase the risk of harm to mothers.

Their letter said: “Whilst we accept, and support, the need to review provision of maternity and neonatal services across [north central London], aiming for care excellence and best outcomes, we have significant concerns about the current proposals.”

The letter said the Royal Free was the only unit in NCL to offer a “range of supporting specialist services for complex maternity care”, including rheumatology and neurology and is the “only hospital in NCL to provide both 24-hour interventional radiology and on-site acute vascular surgery and urology support”.

The medics’ letter said co-morbidities from cardiac, renal, haematological and neurological conditions had driven an increase in maternal mortality over the past decade and that RFH’s services were well-equipped to manage these complex cases.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 24 January 2024


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