COMMENT: It is time for pressure to be taken off JR maternity ward

The heart-breaking story of Jeeva and Arul Philip’s loss of their baby Adriel during labour is a sobering account for a newspaper to have to report.
Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital NNL-150710-123011001Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital NNL-150710-123011001
Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital NNL-150710-123011001

However it does not come as a complete surprise.

Campaigners for a return of an obstetric department to the Horton in Banbury have long warned that disaster was only a matter of time with only one, full, county maternity service 25 miles away from Banbury in Oxford.

An investigation is taking place into the reasons for the loss of this couple’s first baby and the reasons for his loss will not be known until then.

However it is understood that rules for midwives say that once labour is ‘established’ a baby’s heartbeat should be monitored every 15 minutes.

In this case the mother was in the early stages and sent home, away from any midwifery care.

By the time the labour had progressed to the next stage, it was too late.

This distressing episode gives extra force to the argument for an obstetric unit to be returned to the Horton where the couple might have returned sooner, and more easily for checks.

There are always solutions to staffing and funding problems; it takes integrity, creative thinking and determination as well as acceptance that the cost is both affordable and necessary. 
Our deep sympathies are with Mr and Mrs Philip.