COVID-19 Statement 6 January 2021
The Maternity Team at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals NHS Trust are absolutely committed to providing high quality safe care to our mothers and babies. In the light of the current COVID-19 situation and the national lockdown to attempt to control the new highly contagious variant of the virus, it is with deep regret that we have taken the decision to make some immediate changes to the way in which we are providing services to women and their families:
We have taken the difficult decision to suspend our homebirth service temporarily. To help you understand how we have reached this decision, we considered the following:
- The ambulance services are under significant pressure, and a timely response to calls for transfer of mothers and babies to our maternity units in an emergency cannot be guaranteed. Whilst we appreciate that emergency transfers are rare, it is vital to ensure that we are able to provide such services in order that the safest possible care can be provided.
- Our midwifery staff numbers continue to be impacted by staff who are themselves unwell or self-isolating, along with the unprecedented clinical demands on the NHS as a whole. As a result, we may not be able to guarantee that a midwife will be available to attend you at home.
We fully understand that this will be disappointing for those who were planning a home birth in the near future. To ensure we maintain continuity of care, the homebirth team will continue to support women booked for a homebirth and plan to care for women in labour, where possible, by accompanying them to the birth centres at either St Helier or Epsom Hospital.
Attendance of partners at ultrasound scans:
We have also taken the difficult decision to suspend partners attending all ultrasound scans. In reaching this decision, we considered the following:
- Each hospital is different in terms of the size and ventilation in scan rooms. The majority of our scan rooms are small and some do not have windows. This means we are not able to maintain social distancing with three people present and are not able to adequately ventilate the room to mitigate the risk of contagion to both staff and women and partners attending scans.
- The numbers of staff undertaking scans (sonographers, midwives and consultants) continue to be impacted by staff who are themselves unwell or self-isolating. We are committed to ensuring women are still able to access our vital scanning services as and when they are needed, and by taking this decision we are ensuring that we can reduce the risk of infection and continue to provide a full and safe service.
Visiting on the unit:
Labour and Birth:
Women can continue to be supported throughout labour and immediately following birth by one nominated birth partner who must not have any Covid symptoms.
Postnatal and antenatal ward:
It is with regret that we cannot currently support any visiting on the postnatal and antenatal ward, including partners We have made this decision as the majority of our beds are in four or six bedded bays and it is therefore not possible to maintain adequate social distancing to enable us to keep mothers, babies, visitors and staff safe.
We will be implementing this pause with immediate effect in light of the extremely high Covid prevalence in London, and will review all decisions on a very regular basis taking into account all factors including:
- National restrictions and guidance
- Emergency response capacity, London ambulance service (LAS) and South East Coast Ambulance service (SECAmb)
- Staffing levels
- Local Covid prevalence rates
We would encourage you to discuss any concerns with your named midwife in the first instance or our 24/7 dedicated maternity advice line on 0300 123 5473.
Our Maternity Voices Partnership are also here to support you during this difficult time and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.