Maternity services at UCLH

4 April 2022

Following the publication of the final Ockenden report on 30 March 2022, which reviewed maternity services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, we would like to express our sincere condolences to the parents and families affected. We would also like to extend our gratitude to those who shared their experiences so we can understand and learn from what happened. We can only imagine how difficult it has been.

We know that the report may cause concern, especially if you are pregnant or planning for a baby. If you are under our maternity care and have any questions or concerns, please get in touch so we can help. You can talk to a member of our maternity team by emailing d.connor@nhs.net or elizabeth.eddershaw2@nhs.net (maternity and neonatology general manager). Alternatively, you can contact our patient advice and liaison service by emailing uclh.pals@nhs.net.

We would also like you to know that UCLH is committed to an open and honest culture where the safety of all our patients and colleagues is a top priority. We have implemented the seven immediate and essential actions that were set out for Trust maternity services in the interim report published in December 2020. As a matter of priority, we are looking in-depth at the lessons we can learn from the final Ockenden Report.

We know this is an unsettling time and would like you to know we are here for you and committed to providing the very best possible care.

Updated 22 April 2022

Throughout the pandemic, our visiting policy has been developed in line with Public Health England and NHS England national guidance and in response to changing infection rates in London to protect patients, their visitors and staff.

You can bring one support partner to:

Outpatients:

  • All scans
  • All midwife appointments
  • All Fetal Medicine Unit appointments
  • All attendances to the Maternal Fetal Assessment Unit   

Please note that this does not include GTT glucose tests.

Visitors for outpatient appointments will be required to wait just outside the building as waiting areas inside the hospital cannot accommodate all patients and visitors while socially distanced. Visitors will be able to join patients when they are brought into a room and the appointment starts.

Inpatients:

2 x support partners for:

  • Admissions for induction of labour
  • Admissions for labour and birth

Please ensure that your support partners are able to show a recent negative lateral flow on arrival.

Please note that if they are unable to complete a Lateral Flow they can access our LFT Pod outside EGA which is open 7 days a week 8am-8pm.

Daily 8am-8pm visiting times for one nominated individual on our Maternity Care Unit (Postnatal Ward) on account of a negative Lateral Flow Test on the day of attendance

Daily 8am-8pm visiting times for one nominated individual on our Antenatal Care Unit on account of a negative Lateral Flow Test on the day of attendance

All visitors for all outpatient and inpatient appointments will require an ID badge which is produced on that day for that day only by ground floor reception staff.

We recommend that visitors arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment time to allow time for this badge to be produced.

COVID-19 lateral flow tests for patients:

We request that our patients conduct lateral flow tests (LFT) at home, on the day of their antenatal appointment.

Patients may be asked to show their results of their lateral flow tests to their clinician when they are in their consultation (e.g. midwife appointment or ultrasound scan) and these will be documented.

If you haven’t had the chance to order your kit please do so via the government website

Once the test has been done, a text message will then be sent to the patient which can be shown to the clinician during their consultation.

Please download this poster for further instructions.

COVID-19 lateral flow tests for partners/visitors:

Following updated guidance from NHS England, visitors to the Maternity Care Unit (postnatal ward) and the Antenatal Care Unit (ACU) will no longer be required to present evidence of a negative Lateral Flow Test for entry to the ward.

We still request that any support person who has symptoms of COVID-19 or who has confirmed COVID-19, does not visit maternity or neonatal settings and therefore we encourage women to consider an alternative support person in case of this event.

All those attending clinical settings in EGA are required to wear a face covering or mask, unless exempt.

Please note the visiting policy remains unchanged and therefore one designated support person may visit between 8am-8pm and swapping of visitors is not permitted.

We strongly advise that well women still attend their antenatal appointments as planned. However, please note if you or a family member has a fever or a NEW continuous cough then you are required to self-isolate for 14 days. If you are struggling with symptoms please get advice at: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19.

For hospital-based appointments, there will be a face-to-face screening (questions about your wellbeing) at the ground floor reception in the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing (EGA). Please allow extra time ahead of your scheduled appointment as the screening check may take some time.

A lot of our obstetrician appointments have been changed to telephone consultations rather than face-to-face appointments in the hospital, again to avoid unnecessary travel for you and to reduce footfall in a health setting. You should have received a text message regarding this. Please be aware that all our ultrasound scanning appointments and some midwife appointments, including your first booking appointment, will remain face-to-face appointments in the hospital as normal. If you have any queries or are concerned about coming in then please call and we will be able to help.

Our group appointment sessions have been cancelled until further notice. This includes

  • Breastfeeding classes
  • Antenatal classes
  • 16-week group class.

We have set up a YouTube playlist of videos to cover all areas including: antenatal class information, giving birth, tours of wards and key information during COVID-19.

If you are scheduled for an induction of labour or an elective caesarean section, or any other elective activity with us, you will be called by a clinician the day before who will screen you verbally for symptoms of COVID-19.

If you have concerns about reduced fetal movements, waters have broken/leaking, vaginal bleeding, regular painful contractions, severe abdominal pain, flashing lights/visual disturbance and/or migraines or any other emergency concerns or symptoms we still advise that you should attend the 24 hour Maternal and Fetal Assessment Unit (1st floor, EGA Wing UCLH), please contact them prior to coming if you have a fever or NEW continuous cough so that they can arrange for you to go directly into a side room.

Postnatal Visitor Policy Survey:

If you have been an inpatient on our Maternity Care Ward since the pandemic began, you will have experienced our adjusted visiting policy. We would really value your feedback as to how you found this experience.

Please take part in a quick survey. Thank you.

If you think you may be in labour please contact our team so that they can prepare for your arrival. If you wish to have a water birth or use one of our birth pools for labour, let the team know when you call so they can ensure availability.

If you have any concerns about your pregnancy and need advice, please contact your named midwife (the name and number should be on your maternity notes) or our team on the numbers below:

Maternal Fetal Assessment Unit (MFAU)

Tel: 020 3447 9400 - Select option 2 if you think you may be in labour (24 hours a day).

Labour and delivery care

Tel: 020 3447 7113 - at all other times.

Please only bring one birthing partner with you to either The Birthing Centre or the Labour Ward.

The London Ambulance Service are once again able to guarantee an ambulance response to those women choosing to plan their birth at home, which means we are able to support home births.

Coronavirus is still having a significant impact on all NHS services and we are doing everything to ensure that the safety of women and their babies is not compromised and therefore we will continue to closely monitor the situation in relation to Home Births and will keep you updated if anything changes.

If you wish for a home birth please contact your midwife.

Thank you for your understanding.

Please see below helpful links for information regarding Breastfeeding, as we have had to cancel our Breastfeeding Antenatal Classes during this time:

 

COVID-19 vaccines are recommended in pregnancy. Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for both women and babies, including admission of the woman to intensive care and premature birth of the baby.

The JCVI has reduced the gap between vaccines and is now recommending people get their third dose three months after their second dose. This also applies to pregnancy. We are encouraging women to attend for their Booster as soon as they are invited to do so. You should receive an invitation from NHS England (text or email) as soon as you become eligible.

If you would like to get your vaccine, please feel free to attend our walk-in service, available for first doses, second doses or boosters (including the 3-month interval Booster dose):

Monday to Sunday, 9:00 to 18:00

Located in Bidborough House, Bidborough Street, WC1H 9BT.

No appointment needed. 

Please be aware that there might be a long wait due to high demand. 

Please be aware that you can have the flu and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. You can also get your COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as your Whooping Cough vaccine (recommended for all pregnant women between 16 and 32 weeks).

The JCVI has also confirmed that those who initially had two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and are now eligible for a booster, can have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for the third dose.

If you need more information, please follow the links below:

We understand that having a baby is one of the most important experiences of your life.

You will have particular expectations of your birth that are important to you: where you want your baby to be born, who will be with you and the type of care you get.

For some, engaging with maternity services can be a little daunting and you will want access to appropriate information and safe guidance to help you make informed choices and decisions about your pregnancy.

The maternity team at UCLH will listen to your hopes and concerns and can suggest helpful and practical ideas to help you.


The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (EGA) Wing provides comprehensive, high quality care with the latest technology for women and their babies in the areas of gynaecology, maternity and neonatal care. Find out more in the video below.