A councillor has blasted plans for the future of midwifery care in SW London.
Mary Burstow said swapping senior midwives for juniors at St Georges, in Tooting, will put the health of Sutton mums-to-be at serious risk if St Helier Hospital’s maternity ward is closed.
St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust wants to replace senior Band 7 staff with cheaper Band 5 midwives after a consultation suggested that the “skill mix” was “richer than required”.
Mrs Burstow said: “First they dream up the wrong-headed proposal of cutting services at St Helier and asking expectant mums to battle through the traffic to get to Tooting.
“And now, as the birth rate rises and they come up with a plan which would see thousands more patients arrive from Sutton, they plan to downgrade the care they offer at St George’s. It quite simply beggars belief.
“St Helier simply must stay open. This is just another example that the proposals for change in healthcare in South West London have not been thought through properly.”
A total of 41 senior midwives from St Georges have written to the head of midwifery insisting that the cuts would compromise safety.
A St George's Hospital spokesperson said: "We have benchmarked the skill mix of our maternity staff against other maternity units, including the other large teaching hospitals in London.
"The proposals in the consultation were also developed using guidance published by Birthrate Plus and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
“The consultation contains proposals to reduce the number of Band 7 midwives, while increasing the overall number of midwives in the service.
“These proposed changes will ensure that the appropriate leadership, skills and experience is in place to meet the needs of all the women using the service, including increasing numbers of women with co-morbidities and complex pregnancies.
“No final decision has been made and we will be taking into consideration all the feedback we have received from staff when determining how the maternity service can better meet women’s needs.”