Maternity wards closed to expectant mothers 382 times last year in England

9th August 2017

Earlier this week, it was reported that 40% of maternity wards in England closed their doors to expectant mothers at least once in 2016.

Patricia Wakeford, a dual-qualified solicitor and midwife, who is a clinical negligence specialist at BL Claims Solicitors, said: “When I was a midwife, I was lucky enough to work in a unit where closure was very rare.

“However, this decision is not taken lightly by any trust. They appreciate that pregnant women need the certainty of knowing where they will deliver their baby and of building up a relationship with those that will be caring for them. This has to be balanced against the safety of those women already in labour.

“The number of deliveries has increased significantly over the years. In 2015 there were 3,000 more deliveries than in 2014. That was 50,000 more than 2005 and 100,000 more than 2001.”

Patricia added: “Trusts cannot always predict how many women will be in labour at any one time – they can only react to ensure the safety of all women. If this means closing a unit, that is what they will do if there are no other options. They will, however, ensure that another unit as close as possible can assist.”