Number of births at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) to be cut

The number of women giving birth at hospitals run by BHRUT will be cut by almost 20 per cent in the next 12 months, in a move dubbed a “major reduction” by health bosses.

Extra capacity has been created at Newham Hospital and a new maternity service has opened at Barking Community Hospital – but just three months ago the hospital trust said it was not convinced other maternity units could cope.

A Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) report in March said: “This is a major reduction for the trust and at the same time the trust has not seen concrete plans that provide assurance that other providers in the region have the capacity to absorb this activity.”

But this week, BHRUT has softened its tone, with NHS North East London and the City (NELC) – which has called for the reduction in deliveries – saying things have “moved on”.

By summer of next year, there will be 8,000 births at King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes and Queen’s Hospital, Romford combined.

In 2010/11 there were 9,723 births, of which more than 7,000 were at Queen’s.

A BHRUT spokesman said: “We are working with our commissioners NHS NELC to make sure there is enough capacity in the system for women to have choice over where to give birth without some units being too busy to guarantee high quality care, which has been a problem at Queen’s in the past.”