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The BBC's David Willis
"Madonna gave birth in secret"
 real 56k

Friday, 11 August, 2000, 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK
Madonna's baby arrives early
Guy Ritchie and Madonna
Proud parents: Baby was due in September
Pop star Madonna has given birth to her second child, a baby boy, hours after attacking British hospitals as "old and Victorian".

Rocco Ritchie, Madonna's first child with British film director Guy Ritchie, was born on Friday.

The singer's publicist Liz Rosenberg confirmed the birth of the baby, which had been expected in September, in a statement in New York.

The star had said she intended to give birth in a US hospital, but her publicist refused to provide details about where the child was born.

"Overjoyed mother, father, and sister Lourdes are all safe and sound at an undisclosed location," said Ms Rosenburg.


The superstar, who is renting a London house, took a swipe at the NHS during an interview with US radio station Kiss FM, saying she wanted to give birth in the US as she does not trust British hospitals.

She described UK hospitals as "old and Victorian" and said she disliked the thought of the complications caused by giving birth in a foreign country.
Madonna and Lourdes
Madonna with her first child, daughter Lourdes

"I like efficiency," she said.

When asked about having the child in the UK, she said: "Come on now, have you been to hospitals in England?"

But Royal College of Nursing Midwifery adviser Vicki Allanach was quick to defend the NHS.

She said UK hospitals needed to be brought up to the best possible standards for every woman.

"There is now a renewed focus on the essentials of care - privacy, dignity and hygiene - which should start to make a real difference to patients' experiences," she said.

Available to all

She added: "The important thing to remember is that in the UK everyone has access to health care services."

Patients in the US must pay for their treatment.

The Department of Health declined to be drawn on the star's views.

A spokesman said: "We wish Madonna well and the very best of luck."

Madonna has been dating Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director Guy Ritchie for more than a year.

She has spent most of her time in London during the relationship.

Madonna had her first child, daughter Lourdes, three-and-a-half years ago.

On that occasion she gave birth at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles.

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