COVID-19 maternity services update
It is expected that the large majority of people who contract COVID-19 will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms. There is no evidence that pregnant women who get the infection are more at risk of serious complications than any other healthy individuals, however we are taking extra precautions to ensure all women who come into our services are kept as safe as possible.
Do you have a question that needs answering? Our COVID-19 Q+As.pdf[pdf] 3MB should be able to help.
We are following government guidance in terms of social distancing, protective personal equipment and isolation areas for those who need it. This ensures that those women who are unaffected are also kept safe and well. To help us manage the spread of COVID-19, all staff will be wearing face mask and gloves and an apron for any contact. Please do not be alarmed, we are doing this to try and stop the spread of the virus into our department. Please help us by adhering to any safety recommendations given to you at the time of attendance.
The following changes have been made to maternity care provided by Epsom and St Helier hospitals:
Maternity advice line
The dedicated maternity advice line will continue to run as normal. A midwife is at the end of the phone 24 hours a day to answer any questions that you may have, and can be reached on 0300 123 5473
Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit
- No reassurance scans will be performed. Any woman experiencing acute bleeding prior to having a nuchal scan (12 week scan) will be seen via A&E.
- Our aim is still to complete the booking assessment by 10 weeks of pregnancy. The booking will be conducted over the phone with the exception of women requiring interpreting services or if vulnerability is previously identified. The routine booking bloods tests will be taken when you attend for your nuchal scan at 12 weeks.
- There is a phlebotomy clinic (blood testing) open on both sites from Monday to Friday. You will have your blood pressure, height, weight, BMI and urine check completed at the same time as your blood tests. The booking midwife will review your blood results and contact you if required.
- The nuchal scan (12 week scan) will be scheduled as normal. Prior to the appointment (24 hours earlier), you will be contacted by phone to establish if you are symptomatic and/or self-isolating. If you are symptomatic or self- isolating, the appointment will either be re-booked or arrangements made for the quad test to be performed at 16 weeks.
- Anomaly scans (20 week scan) will be planned as normal. Prior to the appointment you will be contacted by phone to establish if you are symptomatic and/or self-isolating. If the anomaly scan is missed then it will be re-booked for you in two weeks.
- One partner only can attend antenatal scans with you. Unfortunately, children are not allowed to attend antenatal scans.
- We now aim to conduct the majority of clinics over the phone or virtually where clinically safe to do so (with the exception of perinatal mental health). If you are attending maternal medicine, diabetes and pre-term birth clinics, these will be reviewed individually by the specialist clinician.
- Smoking cessation clinics have been cancelled and women who smoke will be offered an extenral referral, where feasible. Carbon monoxide (CO) screening will not be performed due to infection prevention concerns. ?
- Women’s health counselling has been suspended and women will be referred to external agencies, eg Uplift, by their midwife if required
- Antenatal classes have been cancelled, and women who have been recruited for the Pregnancy Circles study will be amalgamated into a routine antenatal schedule. If you have anything you would like to discuss, this can be done with the midwife that contacts you or via the maternity advice line.
- The only appointments that will be conducted face-to-face are at 28, 34, 38 and 40 weeks. We will aim to conduct all other appointments over the phone, paying particular attention to fetal movements and any specific concerns you may have.
- All women who are low risk, will be offered a growth scan at 36-37 weeks of pregnancy, in the absence of the usual routine antenatal assessments.
If you think your labour has started, or you need to attend the hospital due to an emergency or concern about the baby, please call the maternity advice line on 0300 1235473. A member of midwifery staff will advise you where and when to come in. Women should wait on the ground floor and not come straight to the delivery suite on either site. Two allocated staff members with personal protection (apron, mask and gloves) will receive the woman and her birth partner, fit them with a mask and bring them to delivery suite via the lift and take them directly to a single room. You will be given a surgical (non FFP3) face mask which should be worn until isolated.
We have reviewed the situation around home births and now have assurance that both London and South East Coast Ambulance services are back to usual response times. Our maternity staffing is currently also maintained at a safe level. We are therefore pleased to be able to reinstate the home birth service at this time, with the following caveats:
- The woman and all members of her household are not displaying any signs of Covid-19
- Only one birth partner is in attendance
We will review the situation twice daily to ensure the ambulance and staffing requirements continue to be manageable.
Please remember only one birth partner will be permitted, who will need to comply with infection control procedures. Your birth partner must not be showing any symptoms or have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- To minimise the risks of transmission, a six-hour discharge following birth will be completed on all low risk women.
Postnatal visiting pathway:
- Day 1 - telephone triage
- Day 5 - telephone triage prior to contact, and a plan made for appointment to see mother and baby and perform the Newborn Blood Spot (NBBS). This will only be deferred if the mother is symptomatic.
- Day 10 - telephone discharge.
When you are contacted by telephone following the birth of your baby, please accurately and honestly answer the questions asked regarding any COVID-19 symptoms or anyone self-isolating in your household. This will allow us to make an appropriate care plan for you that will keep you, your baby and our staff as safe as possible. You can continue to call the maternity advice line at any time if you need any additional support or information.
To protect our staff and patients, there is a strict no-visiting policy in operation throughout the hospital at this time. Birth partners are exempt from this policy, when women are in active labour, but should follow government advice on social distancing. In light of the guidance that everyone should self-isolate at home and remain two meters apart when out, we have made the difficult decision to stop partners visiting the antenatal or postnatal wards or staying overnight.
We understand that this will be disappointing for you, and we will do our very best to ensure that you are transferred to the labour ward as early as possible and discharged home as soon as you are fit. Once home, you will continue to be supported by the community midwifery team and they will make contact with you by telephone the day following your discharge from hospital.
Please do not allow any other member of your household to attend the hospital at any time.
We remain committed to providing you with outstanding care and have dedicated staff working hard to ensure you have a safe and positive pregnancy and birth. Our maternity staff cannot work from home as we need to care for you and your baby throughout the antenatal, labour and postnatal period. Our first priority is in providing the best service we can for you, and we ask for your understanding of the challenging environment that we are working in. We trust that you will support us in our efforts to care for you as safely and efficiently as we can during this time.
Important information about visiting our Maternity department
Last updated: Tuesday 15 September 2020
Following the latest guidance, we have some new rules about visiting our maternity departments. Before you visit, please read this document and follow the required steps accordingly.
Please see some of the key actions below:
- Visitors should contact the clinical area before visiting, to make appropriate arrangements.
- Visitors should be informed in advance of what to expect during the visit and given practical advice about social distancing, wearing protective equipment (including a face covering) and regular handwashing.
- Potential visitors with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 are required to stay at home, arrange a test and where appropriate, self-isolate in line with national guidance.
- Women currently admitted to hospital should be supported in having a visit from at least one close family member, or person important to her. In specific circumstances where social distancing is possible, a second visitor may be permitted; this includes a second birth partner for women in labour.
- Individuals who attend to support a woman’s needs, e.g. with communication or health and social care needs, should not be counted as visitors.
Maternity services (obstetrics)
We provide maternity care for around 5,000 mothers and their babies every year. Our maternity services are provided at both the Epsom and St Helier hospitals. Both hospitals have inpatient antenatal (during pregnancy) and postnatal (after the birth) facilities along with midwifery-led birth centre and obstetric-led labour wards.
We provide a full range of maternity services from the start of your pregnancy, through the birth and the early days with your baby, for all women living in our local area. Although every woman’s pregnancy is different, all mothers to be will receive midwifery-led care, usually shared with your GP. Our experienced midwifery teams are here to help you have as an enjoyable pregnancy and birth experience as possible, and to guide you in making the choices that best fit your needs. For those who have any medical or pregnancy complications, there is a team of obstetricians available 24 hours a day.
We take great pride in providing maternity care which is centered on your personal needs and circumstances.
People you know. Care you trust.
In this section you'll find information on:
We are an accredited Gold Baby Friendly Service
We are proud to be an accredited Gold Baby Friendly Service, recognising our high standards in encouraging and supporting new mums to bond with their babies and make the best personal choice in how to feed their newborn. For more about the benefits this brings, please visit
www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly (opens in a new window).
Flu information and resources
Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter, which is why it’s sometimes called seasonal flu. It’s a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. Colds are much less serious and usually start gradually with a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat. A bad bout of flu can be much worse than a heavy cold. The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. Healthy individuals usually recover within two to seven days, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.
Please read the below information leaflet about the flu vaccination and why it is so important to patients of our maternity services.
The International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes
As a Baby Friendly unit, we adhere to the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes (opens in a new window). The code states that there should be no display or distribution of any materials produced by the manufacturers of breast milk substitutes, bottles, teats or dummies in any part of the healthcare facility.
This requirement is intended to restrict the influence of commercial interests around infant feeding and so protect breastfeeding and bottle-feeding mothers from inaccurate or misleading information.
Please watch the videos below for a virtual tour of our maternity departments at Epsom and St Helier.
Kathryn Hughes, Divisional Director for Women and Children’s Services
- Hazel Gleed, Deputy General Manager for Women and Children’s Services
- Mr Ramesh Ganapathy, Clinical Director for Obstetrics and Gynaecology
- Mr Haider Jan, Clinical Lead for Gynaecology
- Marion Louki, Director of Midwifery and Gynaecology Nursing (cross site)
- Miss Antoinette Johnson, Clinical Lead for Obstetrics
- Mr Mike Katesmark – Gynaecology Oncology Lead (Epsom)
- Mr Manish Maheshwari – Gynaecology Oncology Lead (St Helier)
- Dr Arun Kundu – Clinical Director for Paediatrics
- Dr Salim Yasin – Clinical Lead for Paediatrics (St Helier Hospital/QMHC)
- Dr Tim Marr/Dr Stephanie Kirk – Clinical Lead for Paediatrics (joint role, Epsom)
- Dr Aileen Alston – Quality Lead, Paediatrics (Trust-wide)
- Nadine Mitchell – Head of Nursing (Paediatrics and Neonatal)
- Louise Proffitt – Deputy Heald of Nursing for Neonates, Children and Young People
- Yasmin Ashrafi – Women’s health Service Manager
- Angie Molineaux – Assistant Service Manager for Women’s health
- Julia Sinclair – Paediatrics Service Manager
- Linda Mccallum – Assistant Serivce Manager for Paediatrics
- Wendy Millar, Quality Manager for Gynaecology
- Mary Shewell, Quality Manager for Paediatrics
- Margaret Mansfield – Lead Nurse for Safeguarding Children
- Carol Erzen, Directorate Co-ordinator
- Catherine Malins, Patient Experience - Paediatrics
- Mary Willocks, Inpatient and Antenatal Services - Epsom
- Margaret Flynn, Gynae Matron
- Louise Emmett, Consultant Midwife for Normality – Epsom based
- Julia Lidderdale, Consutant Midwife Public Health (cross site)
- Laura Rowe, Lead Midwife for Clinical Governance and Risk
- Emilie Lacquement, Lead Midwife for Inpatient Services (St Helier) (currently on maternity leave)
- Covering for maternity leave (until summer 2019) - Suzanne Powroznyk
- Diane Weir, Maternity Transformation Lead
- Patience Ohikhena, Lead Midwife for Antenatal (St Helier) and Community (cross site)
- Nicola Shepherd, Deputy Head of Midwifery (cross site, Epsom based)
- Michelle Knight, Lead for Normality (St Helier based)
- Sue Taylor, Infant Feeding Lead
- Infant Feeding Team (07975 232374 or email email@example.com)
- Elizabeth Cullen, Named Midwife for Safeguarding
- Community Teams (Epsom):
Reception: 01372 736566
Epsom and Ewell: 01372 6406/6410
Banstead and Cobham: 01372 5140/6721
- Community Teams (St Helier) 020 8296 2990
- Home Birth Team:
Maria Mill Shaw Home Birth Lead Midwife 07975 232101
Pippa Davies 07828 224703
Nina Johnson 07975 232106
Jill Pidler 07975 232102
Visit our Home Birth Team Facebook page.
We also offer a number of complementary therapies at our Trust for our maternity patients. Please see the following leaflet for more information: Complementary therapies - information leaflet[pdf] 293KB
Local and national support groups and resources
Below are a list of local and national support groups and other resources which may be of use to pregnant women and new families.
- Public Health England Screening tests for you and your baby [pdf] 4MB - explains the screening tests offered during and after pregnancy
- ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices) (opens in a new window) - a national charity helping parents and healthcare professionals through antenatal screening and its consequences
- DadPad - Dadpad is the essential guide for new dads, developed with the NHS. Download the app to your smartphone to get started!
- Down Syndrome Association (opens in a new window) - a national charity which aims is to help people with Down’s syndrome live full and rewarding lives.
- Positive about Down Syndrome (opens in a new window) - a website for parents and parents to be about Down syndrome
- Get on Downs (opens in a new window) - a parent lead support group in the London Borough of Sutton and surrounding areas. The support group meets weekly for coffee, chat and cake. Children of all ages are welcome to play with stimulating toys, in the sensory room or outdoors (weather permitting). They offer support and advice for new families, arrange useful speakers for informal discussions, social events, pamper sessions and spa days.
- SOFT (opens in a new window) - a support group for Trisomy 13 (Patau’s syndrome) and 18 (Edwards’ syndrome):
- Shine (opens in a new window) - specialist advice and support for spina bifida and hydrocephalus
- Miscarriage Association (opens in a new window) - information about pregnancy loss and support
- Tamba (opens in a new window) - Twins and Multiple Births Association.