Queen’s Hospital’s maternity crisis to be debated by MPs

A Commons debate has been secured on maternity care at Queen’s Hospital.

Barking MP Margaret Hodge said “urgent” intervention was needed on care in the hospital’s maternity department, where four patients have died in the past two years.

In April, the Care Quality Commission said there were concerns over patient care, staffing levels, lack of equipment, staff training and record keeping.

The watchdog intervened after two midwives were suspended following the death of Tebussum Ali, known as Sareena, and her newborn baby in January.

Staff had failed to see signs of a ruptured womb and tried to resuscitate her with a disconnected oxygen mask.

Since then, Queen’s Hospital has recruited 60 extra midwives to end the the staff shortage, introduced a new reception system for women in labour and given midwives rigorous training.

Mrs Hodge said she secured the debate because she had heard about people’s experiences at the hospital for the past couple of years.

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She wants the new maternity unit at Barking Hospital to open and the planned closure of maternity facilities at King George Hospital in Ilford to be cancelled to ease pressure on the Romford hospital.

Mrs Hodge said: “I’ve heard from countless people who’ve had bad experiences at Queen’s in the last few years.

“I’m asking the government to intervene urgently to sort things out at Queen’s.”

The hospital’s chief executive, Averil Dongworth, said: “With 10,000 babies delivered each year, sadly, not every birth goes as planned, but we are working to improve care so that childbirth is as safe and comfortable as it possibly can be and so that women feel supported and well cared for.”