Thursday, January 18, 2018

Cllr Athwal launches campaign for world class maternity service for King George Hospital at public meeting

Great to have support from Cllr Jas Athwal Leader of Redbridge Council, RoseMary Warrington Previous Parliamentary Candidate for the Green Party and Helen Pattison of the Socialist party for the campaign to bring back maternity to King George Hospital.

Thanks to Bob Archer for photo.

Video below:

with Cllr Athwal committing to a "world class" maternity service at King George Hospital

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The argument for bringing back maternity to King George Hospital

I attended the North East London Save Our NHS (NELSON)  meeting last night to be given a great piece of work by a campaigner to set out the argument for maternity to return to King George Hospital. NELSON is a cross party group who have been great friends to the save King George A&E campaign supplying speakers at meetings and turning up at photo shoots too. Article follows:

The argument for re-opening comprehensive maternity services at King George Hospital.

Better Births
The National Maternity Review ‘Better Births’ (Feb 2016)i set out the FYFV for maternity services in England. It aimed to make maternity care safer, in line with the Health Secretary’s ambition to halve the number of stillbirths, neonatal deaths and serious brain injuries occurring during birth, but also to ensure care that was kinder, more personalised, and “wrapped care around each woman”.

Better Births’ recommendations included:
  1. Genuine choice, with the ‘choice journey” beginning with services recognising women’s needs;
  2. Choice discussions with midwife about options for care beginning at booking;
  3. Organising services around women and their families (through, for example community hubs with a range of relevant services);
  4. Continuity of carer, close to home where possible;
  5. Choice of place of birth offered to all with unbiased information;
  6. Transfer to post-natal care that is seamless and well supported;
  7. Co-designing of services with local women.

New structures
In response to the Review, NHSE established a national Maternity Transformation Programme to be implemented by
  • a National Maternity Transformation Board (NMTB)
  • a London Maternity Transformation Board (LMTB), reporting to the NMTB, and
  • Local Maternity Systems (LMSs), bringing together commissioners, providers and service users and reporting, in London, to the LMTB.

North East London
NE London is covered by the East London Local Maternity System (ELLMS), reporting to the LMTB but also to the East London Health and Care Partnership (ELHCP) - or STP.

ELLMS has now developed a plan for the next 5 years to look at how their system will deliver NHSE’s ‘Better Birth’ recommendations. This plan involves significant ‘transformation’ from providers of maternity services.

Neither ELHCP nor ELLMS is a statutory body: they are not accountable for the delivery of maternity services. Instead accountability for commissioning remains with CCGs, and accountability for service provision remains with Trust Boards.

NHSE has produced a set of Key Lines of Enquiries for all LMSs to bear in mind while developing plans ahead of an assurance submission to NHSE in October 2017.

Better Care and Wellbeing in East London
The East London Health and Care Partnership’s document Better Care and Wellbeing in East London states that
With a shared goal to help people live healthy and independent lives, the Partnership’s mission is to protect vital services and provide better treatment and care built around the needs of local people, safely and conveniently, closer to home. (
Plans of East London Local Maternity System (ELLMS)
Plans by the ELHCP and ELLMS for transforming the maternity services of East London were set out in a report to the Inner North East London Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee in November 2017. This report confirmed that the aims of this transformation include:
  • To ensure more women have a personalised care plan
  • To expand choice, including choice in “the three places of birth” (hospital, midwifery led centre and home)
  • To ensure that women receive continuity of the person caring for them during pregnancy, birth and post-natally.
  • To ensure that more women will be enabled to give birth in midwifery led settings.

Current maternity services in East London
i) Provision
Maternity services are currently provided by the Royal London, Whipps Cross, Newham, BHRUT (Queens), and Homerton hospitals. Each has an obstetric labour ward and an alongside midwifery led unit. (King George’s provides clinics and antenatal care only.) In addition, the Barkentine Centre is a midwife-led birthing centre provided by BartsHealth NHS Trust.
A pilot is currently underway in Waltham Forest with a midwifery-led provider, Neighbourhood Midwives, in which low-risk women are offered continuity of care from the same midwife throughout pregnancy, labour and the post natal period. (Neighbourhood Midwives does not provide a birthing centre: birth takes place either at home or in one of the hospitals or midwife-led units described above.)ii

ii) Challenges
According to the ELHCP and the ELLMS, challenges facing maternity services in East London include:
  • A projected increase by 4.41% (about 1500 births) within the next 5 years, with greater pressure anticipated in the BHR footprint. iii
  • High turnover of midwifery staff and workforce gaps in acute providers means challenges with clinical capacity or transformation.
  • Variations exist in patient ratio to GP with Redbridge and Waltham Forest falling in the lowest 20%
  • The age of women giving birth is higher than national average (NEL 32.16 years compared to national average of 30.4 years).
  • 19.9% (2712) of women are presenting with multiple co-morbidities (which may rise as high as 23% by 2018)
  • A more than 2% rise in the last 2 years in the number of women reported as unable to speak or understand English (from 6.9% to 9.3%).
  • An expected increase in the prevalence of diabetes by 1.5% (1051 women) per year.
  • A further 1% (254 women) of women are expected to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
  • Mental health conditions are rising by 1% (254 women) per year.
  • Achieving continuity of carer is highly dependent on funding

This assessment of the challenges facing providers of maternity services in East London corresponds with BartsHealth’s assessment, set out in Transforming Services Together. This states that maternity services are struggling with rising birth rates and a population whose health complexity is increasing, while staffing levels are below recognised standards.

Pressure on services in East London is indicated by the fact that between April to June 2017, the obstetric unit at Newham was closed on three occasions, and the obstetric unit at Whipps Cross was closed once during the same period.

We support the intention to increase midwifery-led units for straightforward pregnancies as evidence suggests that these units, if well-resourced, can provide more continuity of care, fewer unnecessary interventions and better experience of care. However, to ensure the safety of maternity care, these units must be backed up by fully reliable emergency contingency provision.

At the moment, with the loss of obstetric or midwifery-led provision at King George’s Hospital (other than clinics and antenatal care), there is a significant gap - a substantial area of East London that is not covered by local maternity services or emergency provision. Currently, women going into labour in the (Redbridge/Ilford??) area who are not having a home birth have to travel to Queen’s, Newham or Whipps Cross. Any community hub or midwife-led unit set up in (Redbridge/Ilford) would have no local facilities for emergency contingencies.

Moreover, Better Births promotes choice for women in terms of place of birth as well as recognition of their needs. Yet lack of provision in the (Redbridge/Ilford) area ignores local womens’ needs and denies them any real choice. Local services have not been co-designed with local women. Without urgently meeting current and future demand for local maternity services, there is a risk that women will experience unsafe, poor quality services that do not meet their needs or choices.

We therefore urge ….. to re-open comprehensive maternity services at King George’s.


Total births in NEL Jan-June 2017








Out of Obstetric Unit Births

  • Data suggests that low risk women are safer giving birth in midwife led settings and have a better experience of care
  • In 2016-17 approx 18% of births in NEL were in midwifery led settings with wide variation across providers from 13-25%
  • There is capacity to increase these figures even in the face of rising acuity

Out of Obstetric Unit birth rate 2016/17





Aspirations for Out of Obstetric Unit Births 2021






NEL Obstetric Unit births


Neighbourhood midwives

NEL Homebirths


Neighbourhood midwives

ii Neighbourhood Midwives is a private, employee-owned company, selling itself on the basis that the NHS is overstretched and often cannot provide continuity of care. Its website provides a link to its NHS funded services pate, where it says it is working with the NHS to offer women in Newham the chance to take part in a pilot of midwifery continuity of care. (Privately provided care cost - depending on the package - between £592 - £742 per month. The Programme Director of Neighbourhood Midwives was on the Review team for Better Births, along with Sam Everington among others). Neighbourhood Midwives is piloting ways of cross-boundary working and developing a new model of transitional care, including care in the community that would currently be hospital based.

iii Transforming Services Together (, the BartsHealth NHS Trust’s initiative to improve the local health and social care economy in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest states that maternity services in these areas are struggling to a population with increasingly complex health needs, staffing levels below recognised standards, and an estate that does not meet the needs of users. Over the next ten years, it is predicted that there will be an extra 5,000 births per year across north-east London, in particular in Tower Hamlets and Newham.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Come to the public meeting calling for the return of Maternity to KGH: Wednesday 17th January 2018 6pm Redbridge Central Library

The main speaker is Cllr Jas Athwal, the Leader of Redbridge Council.

The arguments for a mid-wife led maternity unit for our expanding population are at

Local NHS managers published a paper about the future of maternity provision for NE London on the 9th November 2017 at the link above. King George is not one of the sites given in this NHS paper.

However, the recent PWC report commissioned by the NHS has the following quote about King George includes the following:

The recent work undertaken in May and June 2017 provides
compelling evidence that a new model of emergency care across
NEL is evolving with significant emergency care demands.
This requires a new clinical model to be developed by BHRUT,
incorporating an integrated UCC specification. Subsequent to the
model being developed, there will then be a gateway review and
agreement with Barts Health on the revised model and the
updated potential impact on Whipps Cross and Newham hospitals.
A new staffing model could be developed as part of the new model
of care.” (my emphasis)

The NHS are working on a "new clinical model" this allows us to make the argument that part of this new clinical model should be a mid-wife maternity unit at King George Hospital.

Jane Milligan Chief Officer NHS Tower Hamlets CCG and Executive Lead for East London Health and Care Partnership (NEL) writes the below in a recent update on 29/11/17

"The model we finally adopt must provide excellent, safe patient care and meet the needs of local people now and well into the future."

Redbridge women should be given the choice to have their babies at King George. The full update is below:

29 November 2017
Dear partner/stakeholder,
I wanted to update you on the latest position regarding the A&E department at King George Hospital in Goodmayes.
As you will know, the decision to replace the A&E with an Urgent Care Centre (UCC) was taken in 2011 and much has changed since then. Our east London population is growing and ageing, demand for NHS services continues to increase, and we face ever-increasing challenges as a healthcare system.
Following on from the recommendations in a strategic review undertaken recently by PWC, we now need to consider more options for the way we deliver urgent and emergency care across our communities. This will allow us to look at how this care is provided locally, taking these challenges into account.
It is important we consider how we deliver these services across both King George and Queen’s hospitals to enable us to deliver care in the best way for patients. Exploring more options will enable us to do this.
This is now an opportunity for us to work with our clinicians, patients, partners and stakeholders to develop a plan to make it easier for people to access the right services, deliver care sustainably, and address the challenges such as an ageing population and increasing demand on A&E services.
The model we finally adopt must provide excellent, safe patient care and meet the needs of local people now and well into the future.
In the meantime, the existing A&E at King George hospital will continue to operate as now.
I will continue to keep you updated of further developments.
Kind Regards,
Jane Milligan
Chief Officer NHS Tower Hamlets CCG and Executive Lead for East London Health and Care Partnership (NEL

It would be great if you could come along and contribute ideas to how we can drive the campaign forward.

Monday, December 11, 2017

1) Photo shoot cancelled for today cancelled 2) CCG issue statement on Meadow Court 3) One Place East Statement

1 -The photo shoot today is cancelled due to not enough numbers.

2 - At 14:33 the following email was sent to me by the CCG

Dear Andy
I understand that you have now received the FOI response confirming that the CCG holds no such emails or documents regarding the development/demolition of Meadow Court as we are not aware of any plans. 
You also mention a ‘board member’s’ comments at the governing body meeting on 30 November 2017.  I was at the meeting and cannot recall any member of the CCG governing body making such comments.  I have checked with colleagues and with our company secretary who concur.  You may be aware that non-voting attendees sit at the table also, for example from HealthWatch and the local authority.
I also wanted to advise that the public section of the agenda was placed at the beginning of the meeting, as it has been for similar meetings, so that comments could be heard before consideration of the proposals and decision making.  We have done this following previous feedback from stakeholders, but are happy to hold this at the end of the meeting in future if preferred.
I trust this is helpful. You can publish this email as I welcome the facts being shared with the public.

CCG Director

I understand the person who made the statement calling into the consultation into doubt was a non-voting attendee. An error on my part.

NELFT the NHS trust who own Meadow Court are yet to issue a statement on the issue.

3 Jon Abrams of One Place East has given me the following

"I was shocked at the way in which relatives and carers of loved ones at Meadow Court were treated at the recent CCG Governing Body Meeting. To all extents and purposes, the ‘voice’ of carers and patients were ignored demonstrating a lack of dignity, respect and compassion. 

The Board ignored many of the pertinent questions about the quality of care, health outcomes following relocation, and the standard of local care homes. Even if a transfer is carried out well, there are risks. Minimising ‘transfer trauma’ necessitates an ongoing piece of work involving the whole system.

Dementia patients and older people have human rights too. And the Board's decision to in effect eject dementia patients from their homes is a tragedy."

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Photo shoot 6:15pm Monday 11th December outside Fulwell Well Cross Medical Centre 1 Tomswood Hill, Ilford IG6 2HG

Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) voted to close Meadow Court Nursing Home at their meeting on 30th November. The Chair of the CCG is Dr Metha who practices at the Fulwell Cross Medical Centre

A Recorder story including a picture from our recent photo shoot is here Recorder story

The meeting did not follow usual procedure because public questions were at the beginning of the meeting rather than at the end of the meeting. This prevented the public asking questions about what was said the meeting.

During the meeting a board member cast doubt upon whether the consultation was a real one without a predetermined outcome. I tweeted about her comments at the time.

Dyamite statement from board member implying plans exist to sell off meadow court for housing and kept from committee! Vote passed for closure no attempt to answer public questions. Heckles of shamful and disgusting from floor. (apologies for poor spelling)

I have since written to both CCG and NELFT (who own Meadow Court) asking the following:

All documents or emails either within your organisations or to external contractors about the future of Meadow Court regarding the demolition and/or development of Meadow Court dated before 14:15 on 30th November 2017.

An issue I was unable to raise at the end of the meeting due to the change in procedure putting questions at the beginning of the meeting rather than at the end.

Despite some email exchanges on the issue between the NHS and I, the request for information relating to documents regarding documents remains unanswered, although the NHS have written to say no plans exist to sell Meadow Court.

I have set a deadline of 5pm on the 11th December for NELFT and the CCG to answer the above. If they do not say whether they have have any such documents, I will seek legal advice through a crowd funding site to see if any legal challenge can be brought.

We own our NHS and that means reasonable questions about our NHS should be answered by NHS mangers. However, the meeting of the 30th November was altered to prevent reasonable questions being asked about what board members said. I hope the NHS will reply by 5pm this Monday and the photo shoot cancelled.

Should you wish to attend please call me on 07956 263088. We need no more than eight people to make the point. Please be prompt as the surgery is closed between 6pm and 6:30pm and we do not want to inconvenience patients.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Great News: Cllr Athwal to speak at meeting to call for maternity to return to King George Hospital

Delighted to report that Cllr Jas Athwal will speak at a meeting calling for maternity to come back to King George Hospital at 6pm Wednesday 17th January 2018. More details to follow in due course.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Photo shoot today

Thanks you to everyone attending today. The Ilford Recorder and Wanstead and Woodford Guardian will have photos of us in a more orderly state.

The below is a link to a facebook live interview with Bob Archer and Bob Littlewood