Maternity unit benefits from Ealing closure
‘We’re going from strength to strength’
THE closure of the maternity unit at Ealing Hospital has brought ‘positives’ to Hillingdon, says the head of midwifery.
Hillingdon Hospital opened a new transitional care area last week, for babies that need extra support, along with a new birth centre with a fourbedded midwifery-led unit that has gone from ‘strength-to-strength’.
Anita Hutchins, head of midwifery and women’s care at Hillingdon Hospital, said: “It’s been a positive thing for us because we’ve been able to put services into place that we’ve never been able to before.
“The staff are loving it, the women have been really positive about it and it’s fantastic that we can now offer that.”
Around eight to 10 per cent of women at Hillingdon Hospital came from Ealing, but now the geographical threshold has expanded to include UB5, UB2 and UB1 postcodes.
Ms Hutchins said: “We’ve taken a very specific geographical patch from Ealing, with specific postcodes attached.
“One of the things we’ve guaranteed is that we’ll always deliver our own ladies in Hillingdon and this extra patch which is now ours.
“We’ll be going up from about 4,200 deliveries to 5,000 a year.”
Ealing Maternity Unit closed on July 1 despite demonstrations and tireless campaigning to keep it open.
But Ms Hutchins says the changes have been a ‘win-win’ for Hillingdon Hospital in terms of capacity and space.
She added: “We knew there were challenges with the old unit. It was quite small.
“But now it’s got clinical rooms, a reception and office space and it’s really nice.
“We’ve also moved our small maternity triage area and we’ve been able to relocate some of our services, such as the gynaecology unit, which has gone to the main hospital.
“That’s given us a lot of space to set up the new services. One of the things we’ve been able to do is develop a larger maternity triage for the women and that’s really good for things like privacy, dignity and confidentiality.
“We’ve got all the choices for women now and that’s fantastic for us, for the women and staff.”
The hospital’s maternity services were also pleased to have been awarded a Certificate of Commitment from the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI).
The BFI is an accredited Unicef programme designed to support breastfeeding.
It is an international programme aimed at promoting breastfeeding with the aim of reducing illness in babies and children. It also helps protect mothers from breast and ovarian cancer, and cardiovascular disease in later life.
In a statement, Ms Hutchins said: “We are delighted that we have been recognised by UNICEF for our commitment to our women and their families. This is the first step towards our journey to full baby friendly accreditation.
“At Hillingdon, our primary purpose is to ensure that women choosing to have their babies with us are provided with the best possible evidence based care, support and advice, and BFI is one of the many improvements we are making to help us to continue to provide first class maternity care.”
n ‘WIN-WIN’: Hillingdon’s maternity unit has been given a new look in a bid to cope with the closure of the Ealing site