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HomeNewsHealthKing's College Hospital set to withdraw midwives from breastfeeding service

King’s College Hospital set to withdraw midwives from breastfeeding service

Southwark Council has launched an urgent review after it was announced last week that King’s College Hospital were withdrawing their midwives from a breastfeeding clinic service, which has been running in the borough for ten years.

Last month the News reported that the service, which offers practical support and advice to breastfeeding mums, was celebrating its tenth birthday.

But last week Southwark and Lambeth councils, which fund the scheme, received notification from King’s College Hospital that as of September, they would no longer be able to staff the service.

King’s currently provides a team of four midwives to support the Community Breastfeeding Clinic, at an estimated cost to the hospital of £90,000 a year.

A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed to the News that it could no longer afford to extend the secondment of midwives to the service beyond September.

As nurses and midwives are in such short supply at the moment, the staff are also desperately needed in the hospital’s main maternity unit.

“Breastfeeding is vital for babies, and we provide breastfeeding advice and support for new mums when they are in hospital and after they go home. However, for financial reasons, we cannot continue to fund breastfeeding support in the community, but hope an alternative solution can be found to continue this valuable service,” said the spokesperson.

Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Southwark’s cabinet member for public health, parks and leisure said: “We value this service, as do many local mothers, and while we regret King’s decision to cease their provision, we will be urgently reviewing our commissioning arrangements with our partners, to make sure that this important service continues across the borough with a minimum of disruption.”

Guy’s Hospital, which currently seconds health visitors to the service in Southwark, confirmed to the News it had no intention of pulling its staff from the scheme.

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