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Engineers redesign birthing pools after midwives left short

RED FACED medical staff at a recently completed south London hospital will keep birthing pools closed over Christmas after it was discovered that surrounding walls were too high for midwives.

Birthing pools at Kings College Hospital in south London are unusable because midwives are unable to reach into them to help mothers deliver babies.

Midwives at the recently completed state of the art maternity unit at Kings College hospital have refused to perform deliveries in the baths because the height of the walls makes their job impossible.

The baths were installed as part of the showcase £76M private finance initiative contract by a Costain Skanska joint venture. The contractor's brief did not include birthing bath design, said a spokesman.

'The hospital chose the baths themselves, so it is not a matter for us to comment on, ' a Skanska spokesman said.

A hospital spokeswoman said the dimensions of the baths were decided on after consultation discussions with midwives.

'The problem affects shorter midwives, ' she said. It is not known if those affected by the high walls were part of the consultation process.

A set of temporary platforms are to be designed to enable those needing extra height to work safely. No babies are expected at the aqua-natal unit until the platforms arrive in the New Year.

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