Exposed: Maternity Unit Security Fiasco; Special Mail Investigation at the Height of the Baby-Snatch Alert This Week, Daily Mail Reporters Put Vigilance to the Test in Hospitals across Britain.With Disturbing Results

Daily Mail (London), May 11, 2002 | Go to article overview

Exposed: Maternity Unit Security Fiasco; Special Mail Investigation at the Height of the Baby-Snatch Alert This Week, Daily Mail Reporters Put Vigilance to the Test in Hospitals across Britain.With Disturbing Results


DISTURBING lapses in maternity ward security have been exposed at two out of three hospitals in a Daily Mail investigation.

Just days after the snatch of two-day-old Elizabeth Rice from her mother's hospital bedside in Stourbridge, West Midlands, our reporters were able to wander unchallenged through wards at a dozen hospitals across Britain.

With staff supposedly on heightened alert, we wandered freely past CCTV cameras and through security systems incorporating hi-tech intercoms and self-locking doors.

Our team visited 19 hospitals in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Kent, Hampshire, Surrey and Essex and gained easy access to 12.

At one, the North Hampshire in Basingstoke, the maternity unit had no obvious measures to prevent baby-snatchers. Our reporter was able to wander among new mothers and their children unchecked on four occasions.

Another investigator went to the Heartland Hospital in Birmingham where she was able to pose for photographs in a room containing newborn babies.

At a third unit we heard a nurse tell a couple who tried to enter: 'You'll have to buzz to go in because of all these babies going walkies'. Our reporter had entered the same way ten minutes earlier completely unchallenged.

Not all hospitals were so lax. At London's Chelsea and Westminster, where Cherie Blair gave birth to Leo, visitors are turned away unless they can tell staff, who have access to patient computer records, the name of the person they are there to see.

Last night Mike Stone of the Patients' Association described our findings as 'truly shocking' and urged the Department of Health to investigate. 'Time and time again we are told that lessons have been learned, but your investigation proves they still haven't,' he said.

'While I'm sure many hospitals have exemplary standards of security, patients shouldn't have to worry if theirs is among them.' Louise Silverton, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: 'Your findings are very worrying. There is a delicate balance between good security and not making mothers feel like they are in a prison.

'Nursing staff and midwives should always be on their guard and have the confidence to challenge anyone. But responsibility for security should not rest on their shoulders entirely. Trusts must do more to help.

'Giving birth is a stressful enough experience and it is important that new mothers be reassured that their babies are safe. No price can be put on peace of mind.' Earlier this year the Government made ?100million available to hospital maternity units to spend as they wish.

Sources close to Health Secretary Alan Milburn said: 'What happened in the Midlands this week is rare but lessons have to be learnt. These findings are extremely worrying. Hospital trusts obviously need to re-examine their security procedures.'

Royal Bolton Hospital, Manchester

THERE was a security system on the door into which a number had to be punched by staff.

However two helpful male visitors were leaving the ward as our reporter arrived and held the door open for her to enter.

Inside, there was an unmanned reception desk and we were able to walk down a corridor off which there were several rooms containing mothers and newborn babies.

Our reporter was able to look into the rooms and watched one young mother bathing her baby. At no time was she challenged by staff despite the fact that it was 1pm and visiting hours were between 2.30 and 4pm.

A hospital spokesman said: 'The safety of babies is of the utmost importance to us. As well as having electronic locks and an intercom on the wards, the babies are tagged and mothers are encouraged to keep babies with them at all times.

'We have a wide range of other security measures including CCTV to keep our babies safe.'

North Hampshire Hospital, Basingstoke

OUR reporter was able to walk straight out of the car park, through an unlocked set of doors at the entrance to the maternity unit and on to the Stallworthy Ward. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Exposed: Maternity Unit Security Fiasco; Special Mail Investigation at the Height of the Baby-Snatch Alert This Week, Daily Mail Reporters Put Vigilance to the Test in Hospitals across Britain.With Disturbing Results
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.