Whittington will introduce ‘birth cap’ as part of cost-cutting plans

The Whittington Hospital

The Whittington Hospital - Credit: Archant

The Whittington has moved to calm fears over its new “birth cap”, which will see no more than 4,000 babies born in the maternity unit each year.

Head midwife Jenny Cleary has said no woman from either Islington or Haringey will be turned away from the hospital because of the cap, which has actually been in place for a number of months already.

Speaking to the Gazette, she said while the midwives “would love” to welcome more women to their ward, the figure had been agreed on taking into consideration the building’s physical constraints.

Ms Cleary said the most important thing was to prevent the ward having to close due to overcrowding – something it has avoided in the past.

“If we are going to bring women into the system it is about can we look after them [when the time comes to have the baby],” she said. “We do not want to have women labouring in our corridors.”

Last year, 3,942 babies born in the hospital and, according to its projections, it will remain under the 4,000 figure for this financial year and next.

However, just 75 per cent of these births were from Islington or Haringey - the hospital’s ‘core patch’. Were the figure of 4,000 to be exceeded, women from these two boroughs would be priority, with those from out of the area being told to find a new hospital.

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“None of us can predict the future - it is not an exact science,” said Ms Cleary. “On average, we are still under. [If we go over] then we have to think, do we need to change the building?”