Your questions answered...

PUBLISHED: 09:45 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:33 25 August 2010

IN the final stage of your exclusive opportunity to grill health chiefs at A Picture of Health (APOH), we put to them your questions about WHY these changes have to take place and whether there are any other options?

IN the final stage of your exclusive opportunity to grill health chiefs at A Picture of Health (APOH), we put to them your questions about WHY these changes have to take place and whether there are any other options?

Will the changes in Bromley, Bexley, Woolwich and Lewisham cause extra pressure for Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford? Janis Mathers


A spokesman for A Picture of Health said: "Some patients will in future be cared for at Darent Valley Hospital under the proposed options, as for some services this will be patients closest hospital.

"We have worked closely with Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, of which Darent Valley Hospital is a part, sharing with them our estimates for the future number of patients that will require care there as a result of our proposals. To date they have indicated that there will be sufficient capacity, but as part of the consultation process we are seeking formal assurance from them that this is the case."

I am 31 and a type 2 diabetic. My first pregnancy was closely monitored by the joint clinic to the point where I was attending appointments every week.

There are many complications that can affect the pregnancy of a diabetic and this monitoring is necessary for the safe delivery of the child. The care I received was outstanding and I am now in the early stages of my second pregnancy. How will these proposed changes affect my antenatal care and delivery?

Are women going to be expected to be seen by different hospitals in the future, surely this is not a good idea? Why on earth should any services be cut for a growing population?

All services are already overstretched. There has been national coverage of a mother in Beckenham who had a swab left inside her during a C-section - are women from Bexley expected to use that hospital, which will cause unnecessary distress surely? What about the carbon foot print of getting to these hospitals that are further away? What about the parking which is inadequate in all hospitals already?

Mrs Nadia Martin

A spokesman for A Picture of Health said: "We are delighted Mrs Martin felt the care she received from the team at Queen Mary's was excellent and reassure her that women will still be able to receive high quality ante-natal at the hospital from the same team of consultants.

In all of the options, ante natal care will continue to be available at all four hospitals. Although women may give birth in a different hospital to where they had ante natal care, we plan that the obstetrician looking after them will be the same.

"The growing population is a key factor that has been built into the assumptions on the future number of patients that will need care, that underpin our plans. We are not cutting maternity services, but are proposing to relocate them and concentrate them into specialist centres, whilst also planning to offer more choice to expectant mothers, such as home births and midwife-led birthing units.

"As we do not manage Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on an incident that took place within the trust, other than to say we have been advised by the Trust that a full investigation is taking place.

"As part of our ongoing work we are undertaking an assessment of the impact of the options on the environment, due to the changes in journeys (to include patient/visitor journeys).

We are also looking at any impact on car parking capacity required at each of the four hospitals."

Mr (Roger) Smith (of QMS) says that labour is the time of greatest risk I have given birth to a still baby, my next pregnancy will be a whole nine months of great risk. Whilst I appreciate the concentration of resources to allow for consultants to be available at the proposed centres 24/7, does this not demonstrate that QM maternity facilities need to be expanded not closed? I would like you to put to Mr Smith that it takes us five minutes by car to reach QM and 30 minutes to reach Farnborough (on a good day).

So, is Mr Smith saying that on my next pregnancy when my baby's heart slows at 34 weeks, he or she will have an equal chance of survival despite an extra 25 minutes added on to our journey? Nicola Hall


A spokesman for A Picture of Health said: "We understand that a still birth is very distressing for women and their families, but there will always be circumstances where a baby does not survive, no matter how close the hospital or obstetric team is.

"When the NHS looks at how care might have changed or improved the outcome, it is usually in the kind of care that happens once she has arrived at the maternity hospital. We want to be able to provide the very highest standards of care in our maternity units and that means concentrating the specialists we have in fewer units to provide round the clock consultant care.

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