History of Liverpool Women’s Hospital
The Hospital site was opened 20 years ago, merging three maternity hospitals and the old Women’s Hospital, marking a sea change in provision.
It was built as part of Project Rosemary, to help heal the injustices which lead to the riots in Liverpool.
There have been problems in the past, but it is a world class hospital, with excellent outcomes for women and babies.
It was named one of the best hospitals in the country in an inpatient survey run by regulators the CQC (Care Quality Commission). It meets or exceeds all the standards required of it in patient care.
It is formally classified as “good” and “safe”
Since it was opened Liverpool’s infant mortality has improved. Many babies have survived because of it. It has an above average score for preventing baby deaths
There has been a women’s hospital in Liverpool since 1796 – though then it was only for ‘respectable’ women. It became open to all women in 1841.
Women in Liverpool campaigned for baby clinics, for free maternity care and more throughout the first half of the 20th century. There is record of this in the Women’s Cooperative Guild’s publications and in the in the oral history of Liverpool families.
Child birth then was a real risk.“In the 19th and first half of the 20th century, everybody knew about death in childbirth, particularly those women who were about to go through the process. … Death in relation to childbirth was mostly in fit young women who had been quite well before becoming pregnant. They died, often leaving the baby, and other children in the family from previous births, with a widowed husband. It is only recently that the Church of England prayer book removed the service for the ‘churching of women who had recently given birth’ which starts by giving thanks to God for: ‘The safe deliverance and preservation from the great dangers of childbirth.’
“The Four Horsemen of Death’ in maternal mortality were puerperal pyrexia, haemorrhage, convulsions and illegal abortion. They still are—in various proportions—major killers in most of the world, although their effects are greatly reduced in the UK now.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1633559/
In the graph below we can see how child birth became much safer after the introduction of the NHS in the UK on July 5, 1948. Improved hygiene and greater medical knowledge also helped reduce the numbers of mothers and babies dying, but in countries where universal health care like the NHS has not been provided, the improvement has not been as great. The NHS brought free access to world class care to even the poorest mothers and a wonderful bank of experience has been developed and researched, making childbirth far safer.
Shamefully the UK is now 23rd in the world for the number of women dying in childbirth, with less than one percent improvement between 1990-2008. 8.2 women per hundred thousand die in childbirth compared to 3 per hundred thousand in Italy. Ireland is better than UK However the United States whose health care this government appears to admire has a death rate of 16.7 maternal deaths per 1000 thousand live births