Maternity services (obstetrics)
Important information – COVID-19
Support partners and visitors to our maternity unit during the COVID-19 pandemic
As a maternity service we acknowledge the impact the Coronavirus restrictions have had on those who use our services during each stage of pregnancy, birth and after birth. We understand what a difficult time this has been and the challenges that continue, and want to work with you to ensure that we keep everyone safe and that you have the right support.
We are now able to welcome one support partner to all areas and to all appointment. Details have been included below.
UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE UNABLE TO HAVE ANY OTHER VISITORS TO OUR WARDS OR CLINIC APPOINTMENTS AT PRESENT. PLEASE DO NOT BRING CHILDREN TO ANY APPOINTMENT OR IN-PATIENT AREAS.
We are asking support partners and our women to adhere to the following:
Rapid coronavirus tests/Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) – IMPORTANT UPDATE
Anyone in England who does not have symptoms can now get regular twice-weekly rapid lateral flow tests to check for coronavirus. These can be obtained on-line, from local pharmacies or test sites. We are advising that all women and their support partners take advantage of this in order that any COVID-19 infection in pregnancy is picked up early and managed. We are also requesting that all women and their support partners undertake a test 24 hours before attending appointments, scans or coming into the hospital and are asking that you bring proof of this (for both yourself and your support partner) to your appointment or before coming into the hospital.
Evidence could include taking a screenshot/photo on your mobile phone when you report your result at https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result and then completing our Lateral Flow form that can be accessed here or via your Badger Notes App under the leaflet section and searching 'lateral flow'. Please take a screenshot of your completed form to show the receptionist when attending for your appointment.
We would like to stress that this voluntary, and should you or your support partner decline to undertake this testing, you will both still be able to come to all appointments/admissions as long as you adhere to the to the current infection control measures in place, such as social distancing and PPE. Similarly, if you need to access care in an emergency and you have not undertaken a test 24 hours prior to the appointment/admission you and your partner will be able to attend the unit as usual – and it is important that you do so.
If your LFT test is positive, you should self-isolate and order a confirmatory Covid test, known as a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test and if you have an appointment you should contact the maternity unit for advice. You can order a PCR test on the GOV.uk website. You should continue to access urgent or unplanned care without delay, even if you have tested positive for coronavirus.
For further information, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/regular-rapid-coronavirus-tests-if-you-do-not-have-symptoms/
Please note that all women admitted to the hospital will have a PCR (laboratory) test performed on admission.
Support partners will be expected to wear a mask at all times and practice social distancing from staff and others. All support partners should be free of COVID-19 symptoms, but will be able to attend if self-isolating after contact with a COVID-19 positive person. Regrettably, support partners who have tested positive for COVID-19 will not be able to attend appointments or in-patient admissions.
Attendance of partners at ultrasound scans
On-going risk assessments have been undertaken and have taken into consideration that local Covid-19 infection rates and hospital admissions are continuing to reduce. We are therefore pleased to announce that from 12 April 2021, women will be able to bring their support partner to all scan appointments:
- 1st trimester nuchal translucency (NT) scan which takes place around 12 weeks’ gestation.
- The anomaly scan at 20 weeks’ gestation.
- Growth scans around 36 weeks
- All other scans
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
Following a further risk assessment of the clinical areas and in line with updated Government guidance, we are now able to welcome the chosen birthing partner onto our antenatal and post-natal wards. This will be between the hours of 8am - 8pm. Covid-19 precautions including a surgical face mask and social distancing will need to be adhered to whilst on the unit.
These times and guidelines will be updated along with the National Guidance. If all remains well, we will be hoping to revert to a normal visiting pattern by the 21st of June (Step 4 of the Government Plan).
Please keep us informed
It is important for your care and safety that you let us know if you have confirmed or suspected Covid-19, or if anyone you live with is self-isolating because they have symptoms.
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 email@example.com
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.
Key Operational Staff:
Kathryn Hughes, Divisional Director of Operations – Women and Children’s Services
Hazel Gleed, General Manager Paediatrics/Deputy Divisional Manager Women and Children’s Services
Yasmin Ashrafi, Women’s Health Service Manager
Carol Erzen, Division Co-ordinator
Key Midwifery Staff:
Nicola Shepherd, Director of Midwifery and Gynaecology Nursing
Laura Rowe, Interim Head of Midwifery
Louse Emmett, Consultant Midwife for Normality
Julia Lidderdale, Consultant Midwife Public Health
Michelle Knight, Consultant Midwife
Suzanne Powroznyk, Lead Midwife for Inpatient Services St Helier
Mary Willocks, Interim Lead Midwife for Inpatient Services Epsom
Patience Ohikhena, Lead Midwife for Antenatal and Community Services
Diane Weir, Lead Midwife for Safety and Transformation
Elizabeth Cullen, Named Midwife for Safeguarding
Sue Taylor, Infant Feeding Lead
Infant Feeding Team (07975 232374 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Maria Mills-Shaw, Home Birth Lead Midwife
Key Obstetric Staff:
Mr Ramesh Ganapathy, Divisional Medical Director
Mr Haider Jan, Clinical Director
Radhi Viswanatha, Clinical Lead for Obstetrics
Jennifer Loudon, Labour Ward Clinical Lead
Key Neonatal Staff:
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)
Julia Sinclair, Service Manager Paediatrics
Mary Shewell, Quality Manager for Paediatrics
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.