Eighty Percent of Babies Born At Ealing Hospital Have Foreign Mothers

Daily Mail report sparks debate

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The Mail On Sunday has ignited fresh debate about immigration by revealing that one baby in five born in Ealing hospital has a British mother.

The story, published in today's Mail On Sunday is reprinted below.

"Of the 3,289 children born at Ealing Hospital, West London, in the past year, a remarkable 2,655 were to foreign nationals.

The statistics – released following a Freedom of Information request by The Mail on Sunday also show that the maternity unit dealt witha total of 104 different nationalities in the 12 months to February.

Births at Ealing Hospital in West London have increased by 500 a year since 2006

These include 537 babies born to Indian mothers – the largest minority ethnic group – 389 Poles, 270 Sri Lankans, 260 Somalians, 200 Afghans and 208 Pakistanis. In contrast, of the 634 babies with British mothers, just three were from Wales and six from Scotland.

Maternity services at the hospital have been coming under increasing pressure, with a 20 per cent rise in births over the past five years, almost twice the national average.

The hospital has had to take on 32 extra ¬midwives to cope with the boom, which saw 500 more babies delivered there last year than in 2006.

A key factor is that foreign women tend to have more babies than British women – an average of 2.5 compared with 1.84 for UK nationals – and Ealing is one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs in Britain.

The figures are derived from how mothers declared their nationality on hospital paperwork, so the British category also covers foreign-born mothers granted British passports and second-generation immigrants who were born British citizens.

Nationally, one baby in four is born to a foreign mother, twice the level of 1997, when Labour came to power. Conservative MP James Clappison said: ‘The Labour Government has left us with significant challenges after an unprecedented wave of inward migration.

‘The pressures, I’m sure, are being felt all over the place including in the NHS. I fully support the present Government’s proposals to cap migration.’

Despite the burgeoning birth rates, Ealing Hospital denies that its maternity services are under strain.

Yet the Royal College of Midwives  recently warned that maternity units across the country were ‘teetering on the brink’ under the pressure of rising birth rates.

And some mothers have complained about being left alone during labour at Ealing Hospital.

Father Paul at the Polish Catholic Community Centre in the borough said he had spoken to many new mothers who were unhappy about their experience at Ealing Hospital. He said: ‘Some women say it is not very good and that the service they would receive in Poland would be better.

‘Doctors are involved much earlier in their pregnancy in Poland and the service is more complex and detailed.’

In July 2008, watchdogs at the Healthcare Commission rated Ealing Hospital’s maternity unit as one of the weakest in the country. It put the unit in the bottom fifth of hospitals for childbirth and ante-natal services, placing it in the ‘least well performing’ category.

However, the service has improved in recent years, according to the new health regulator, the Care Quality Commission. Results of its survey published in December 2010, rated Ealing’s maternity unit 7.8 out of 10, on a par with most NHS Trusts in the country.

A spokeswoman for Ealing Hospital NHS Trust said the hospital catered for a diverse borough and that it was ‘no surprise’ that a high proportion of mothers at its ¬maternity unit were from outside the UK

And she said that a team of translators were on hand to help foreign mothers.

She said: ‘As with the rest of the UK, the Trust has seen a steady increase in the birth rate during the last few years. As with other hospital Trusts that serve diverse populations, clinical staff have access to support workers and systems that aid communication with patients.

‘The maternity services at Ealing Hospital NHS Trust are not under strain and the Trust has achieved and maintains good staff-to-mother ratios in the maternity department.

‘Between 2006 and 2011, the Trust employed a further 32 midwives as a response to increased demand for maternity services and to improve staff-to-mother ratios.’ 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1382374/The-NHS-hospital-80-cent-babies-foreign-mothers.html#ixzz1L87YpnX9


May 1, 2011