Letter: Maternity care at the Royal London

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am concerned that your article 'Birth pangs: strangers in a strange land' (20 May) conveys an inaccurate impression about the sensitive and high standards of care for pregnant women which are provided at the Royal London Hospital. Esther Oxford chose to portray unrelated instances and used occasional comments as the basis of her article, entirely neglecting the splendid care that is provided by midwives of every race and religious creed and doctors alike.

Not a single mention was made of the fact that the perinatal mortality rate, indicating the quality of care, is one of the lowest in this country, if not the industrialised world; particularly since immigrant women are thought to be at great risk of problems during their pregnancy, leading to stillbirths and other problems. The very low perinatal figures at the Royal London Hospital have caused the profession and society to think again about whether or not immigrant status is so important.

The effect of Ms Oxford's article on the midwifery and medical staff, regrettably, has been distracting and has led to a fall in morale, as evidenced by the many calls to me yesterday and today from my midwifery and medical colleagues. I am also concerned that sensationalism of this kind might frighten and worry the women who attend our service for pregnancy care.

I would be grateful if restraint and moderation be exercised to provide a more balanced view in the future.

With best wishes,

Yours faithfully,


Academic Unit of Obstetrics

and Gynaecology

The Royal London Hospital

London, E1

21 May