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.
DRUSILLA GABBOTT PICKTHALL