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Two women turned away from Queen’s Hospital maternity department after it closes for four hours

15:42 05 June 2014

Queen's Hospital, Romford

Queen's Hospital, Romford

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Two pregnant women were turned away from the Queen’s Hospital maternity unit when the department became full and closed for four hours in April, it has emerged.

Andy WalkerAndy Walker

The Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHRUT) board published the information about the Romford hospital closing at a monthly board meeting on Wednesday.

Today, the BHRUT confirmed the hospital had closed on April 29 for a total of four hours.

Wendy Matthews, the hospital’s director of midwifery, said the move to close a maternity department is “normal” in London, adding Queen’s had closed its unit once already this year.

The decision was made because of a high number of women going into labour in the unit at the time.

Ms Matthews said: “This practice is normal across all London maternity departments.

“Within the last year, the unit has had to divert on two occasions.”

According to Ms Matthews, the Queen’s maternity unit had to close 10 times per month three years ago.

Andy Walker, a member of the campaign group Save King George Hospital, which the BHRUT also runs, attended the public meeting this week.

He said: “We cannot have pregnant women turning up at maternity units and being told the department is shut.”

The focus on services at Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, has increased after the maternity unit at King George Hospital in Barley Lane closed last year.

In her statement, Ms Matthews added re-opening King George’s maternity unit “would not be justified for the very few occasions” when the unit is forced to close because of overcrowding.

Jas Athwal, leader of the Redbridge Labour party, described the news as an “absolute shock”.

He added: “Queen’s was built for 300,000 people in mind but now it has to cope with 800,000 - it is not right.

“We need to look at the value that King George is offering. Both Havering and Redbridge are suffering at the moment.”

Were you one of the women turned away from Queen’s Hospital? Have you ever been turned away in the past? Please call the newsdesk on 0208 477 3821

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