Sunday, June 22, 2008

Is this the NHS we are paying double for?

We are now paying roughly twice what we were paying for the NHS than we were 11 years ago, yet according to this article in the Mail on Sunday a pregnant woman had to give birth in a hospital corridor after being turned away from two closer hospitals.

Emma Johnson of Brighton went into Labour, so called her local hospital the Royal Sussex county, who said they did not have enough beds. She called the next nearest at Worthing and got the same story. Then she called my local hospital in Haywards Heath, the Princess Royal. After a 40 minute car journey she ended up giving birth in the corridor. It is unclear why it was in a corridor, though presumably it was because the baby had to be delivered before she could be got into a birthing suite rather than a lack of one.

A spokesman for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals trust said:
We do everything we can to ensure women are able to give birth in a hospital of their choice.

We are sorry that this was clearly not Miss Johnson's experience.

Occasionally if a site is very busy we have to ask mums to travel but we do this as infrequently as possible because we know it is not what mums want.
Well, the cutbacks in maternity services are due to the PCT structure more than the hospital trust so maybe they can be let off that one. That it is not what mums want is bizarre statement. I can't see anyone queuing up to be sent from pillar to post for an urgent visit to a hospital.

The sad thing about all this is that the maternity unit at the Princess Royal is still under threat with its services due to be downgraded to a maternity led unit. Had that been the case then what would have happened to Emma Johnson and her baby had she had complications? Just how far would she have had to have traveled? Could she have been half way through birth at the Princess Royal and then need an urgent surgical procedure like a cesarean?

All this of course despite the amount of money being spent on the NHS whilst there are over 10,000 less beds than 1997. Where has all the money gone.

You can support the Save the Princess Royal Hospital campaign here.

The Mail on Sunday has this.

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