Future risk flagged up at labour ward in Northwick Park Hospital

Report indicates that maternity unit may not have enough consultants to deal with patients

A maternity unit where 10 mothers died in three years is at risk of not having enough consultants to deal with patients, it has been revealed.

According North West London Hospitals Trust’s latest report, the labour ward at Northwick Park Hospital is at “risk of inadequate consultant time allocation” which could cause delay in caring for women giving birth.

The process is now underway to find three consultant posts for the unit, in Watford Road, Northwick Park.

Sarah Cox, a member of campaign group Brentfight, said she was gravely concerned given the hospital’s history. She added: “If I had a daughter or granddaughter expecting I would be worried about them at Northwick Park.”

Northwick Park’s labour ward was put on special measures in 2005 after 10 mothers died there between April 2002 and April 2005.

A Healthcare Commission report found a number of failures at the ward contributed to nine of the 10 deaths. The ward was lifted out of special measures in September 2006.

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A spokeswoman for NWLH said: “This is a potential future risk, to do with the fact that the Royal Colleges are raising standards all the time and are beginning to think that more consultants are needed in bigger units such as ours.

“These are not things that will definitely happen, but are things that could potentially harm patients or the organisation in the unlikely event that they might happen.”