Letter: Childbirth care on the cheap

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The Independent Online
Sir: In response to the article in your Healthy Pregnancy supplement (3 September) celebrating the Department of Health's Changing Childbirth, may I introduce a note of caution?

My experience of giving birth in a central London hospital was as follows: no guarantee of a delivery room, no guarantee of a monitor, nor bed, nor bell; pressure to accept a 24-hour discharge, and finally, little continuity of care before or after delivery. Thank goodness, under the circumstances, that some informed paternalist had made the decision that at a very minimum I should be in a consultant-led unit, with access to an anaesthetist, resuscitation unit and operating theatre.

By all means, let mothers speak up, but perhaps our time would be better spent lobbying for better-funded hospital care than innocently pandering to what must please any government - the prospect of cheaper care at home or in a midwife-only unit with the appearance of public endorsement. Look at psychiatric care in the community, and be warned.


London N19