Extra safety at Ipswich maternity unit

DOORS are to be locked at Ipswich Hospital's maternity unit, days after a baby was snatched from a ward in the Midlands.The two-day-old baby girl, who was stolen from a cot at the foot of her mother's maternity bed in Stourbridge on Tuesday, was found safe and well that night.

By Tracey Sparling

DOORS are to be locked at Ipswich Hospital's maternity unit, days after a baby was snatched from a ward in the Midlands.

The two-day-old baby girl, who was stolen from a cot at the foot of her mother's maternity bed in Stourbridge on Tuesday, was found safe and well that night.

The new door entry system at Ipswich had already been ordered and delivered when the Midlands incident happened.

It will prevent anyone from walking onto the wards where new babies are cared for, without first identifying themselves to staff through an intercom, for the door catch to be released.

Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell yesterday told the Star she could not rule out the potential risk of a baby being snatched at Ipswich because it was part of the wider community, but reassured parents there had been no major security scares in the hospital.

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The maternity wards at Ipswich have carefully-monitored CCTV, security lighting in staffed car parks, strict visiting hours, a security adviser, and wards are designed so that staff can see visitors entering.

New parents and relatives are also warned that only staff wearing badges sporting an M for 'maternity', or a C for 'children', should be allowed to deal with babies.

Ms Rowsell said that the new door system about to be introduced, was an extra precaution which had been decided upon during the hospital's continuous consideration of the security options available.

She said: "The key will still be vigilance, and although it will be natural for people to hold the door open for anybody following them, we would appeal for them not to, in this case.

"Everybody should use the entry system appropriately in order for it to be effective."