Last chance to have say on future of North London maternity and children’s health services

The birthing facility at Edgware Community Hospital is under threat of closure

Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

There are just a few days left for North London residents to share their views as part of a public consultation on proposed changes to how and where maternity, neonatal, and children’s surgical services are provided locally.

The NHS North Central London Integrated Care Board (ICB) consultation closes on Sunday, 17th March, and includes a proposed reduction of maternity units across Barnet, Enfield, Haringey, Camden and Islington boroughs, from five down to four.

The maternity units at Whittington Hospital in Archway and Royal Free Hospital in Camden are the two being considered for closure, with Royal Free the current preferred option.

The maternity units at Barnet Hospital, North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton, and University College London Hospital in Euston, are being retained.

However, the smaller-scale birthing facility at Edgware Community Hospital is also earmarked for closure.

The reason for the changes is that the North Central London NHS area is seeing fewer births each year while dealing with increasingly complex care needs by people using maternity and neonatal services. The local NHS also faces high numbers of vacancies in some clinical groups, which is affecting service standards.

Because of the declining birth rates, local NHS bosses are proposing to “align services with the changing needs of the community”.

All the proposed options are subject to an ongoing public consultation and further decision-making by North Central London ICB. A final decision is expected to be made later this year and implementation would need to be “planned carefully before any changes are made”.

In the meantime, there will be no changes to patient care or for staff working to deliver these services at present.

The maternity shake-up is part of a wider programme, dubbed ‘Start Well, which “aims to improve the quality and safety of care for pregnant women and people, reduce inequalities in outcomes and give every child the best start in life”.

Residents can view the proposals and complete a questionnaire online. They can also email [email protected], call 0800 324 7005 or post their thoughts to Opinion Research Services, FREEPOST SS1018, PO Box 530, Swansea, SA1 1ZL.

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