Birth and death in London

01 March 2016

This meeting took place on 2 March 2016. Read the transcript here.

  • Delayed access to maternity services leads to life-long health issues for mothers and babies.
  • One in five women suffer from mental ill health during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth[2] and suicide is the second leading cause of maternal death after cardiovascular disease.[3]
  • Increased financial pressures and workforce shortages fuel concerns that London’s services may struggle to cope with demand.

The London Assembly Health Committee will tomorrow discuss the provision of maternity services across London and the factors that prevent women from accessing maternity care. A number of groups who experience particular challenges include: migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, women who experience domestic violence and women who live in deprived circumstances. In a recent survey by Doctors of the World, they found that nearly one-third of respondents were charged for maternity care, one as much as £6,000, some even after their babies died.[4]

The meeting will also focus on barriers to accessing antenatal services and look into the issue of mental health and how access to services affects care for mothers and babies.

The following guests will be questioned:

  • Dr Daghni Rajasingam, London Representative, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Council
  • Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair, Maternal Mental Health Alliance
  • Dr Clare Shortall, Family Clinic Lead, Doctors of the World UK
  • Professor James Walker, National Professional Advisor (Maternity) Care Quality Commission
  • Professor Donald Peebles, Co-Clinical Director, NHS England London Maternity Strategic Clinical Network
  • Janet Fyle MBE, Professional Policy Advisor, Royal College of Midwives (RCM)
  • Sean O’Sullivan, Head of Health and Social Policy, RCM

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, 2 March at 2:30pm in Committee Room 5 at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1).

Media and members of the public are invited to attend. The meeting can also be viewed via webcast.

Notes to editors

  1. Full agenda papers.
  2. Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance, NICE, December 2014
  3. The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, NHS England, February 2016
  4. Access to Healthcare in the UK, Doctors of the World, August 2015
  5. Dr Onkar Sahota AM, Chair of the Health Committee is available for interview. See contact details below.
  6. London Assembly Health Committee.
  7. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.