British women giving 'birth in toilets, lifts, corridors'


Babies were born in offices, lifts, toilets, corridors, midwives’ offices, wards including accident and emergency units, and  caravans, according to the Freedom of Information data for 2007 and 2008 from 117 out of the 147 trusts which provide maternity services. Some women had their baby before they even reached the hospital.

Births outside maternity wards —in locations ranging from lifts to hospital toilets — went up 15 percent than last year to almost 4,000, The Daily Mail reported on Wednesday. It said hundreds of women in labour are being turned away from hospitals because they are full. The paper quoted official information obtained by an opposition MP as showing women gave birth in ambulances, Accident and Emergency departments, unspecified areas including corridors, postnatal and antenatal wards and hospital reception areas.

Opposition Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley said the government had cut maternity beds by 2,340, or 22 percent, since coming to power in 1997. At the same time birth rates have been rising sharply, up 20 per cent in some areas.

The data show that over the last two years 117 babies were born in A& E departments, four in minor injury units and two in medical assessment areas. Another 115 babies were born in other hospital wards while three were born in hospital corridors and 33 in unspecified parts of hospital.

A total of 399 births also took place in parts of maternity units other than those designated for labour, The Daily Telegraph reported. Another 63 babies were born in ambulances, 608 while in transit to hospital and 10 births took place in hospital car parks.  Another 2,997 were unplanned home deliveries, out of a total of 7,368 outside maternity wards over two years.

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