Following a statement by SaTH late today (see below), Tracey Huffer, Councillor for Ludlow East, says:
“This is great news. The health trusts have solved a problem before it became a crisis.
“I don’t know why there needed to be any disruption at all. We have known about the bad condition of the older buildings at Ludlow Community Hospital for years. There have been several discussions on moving the midwifery-led maternity unit into more modern accommodation. Nothing happened.
“In just a few days, more than 1,700 people have signed up to a Facebook campaign to keep midwifery-led maternity services in Ludlow. That’s amazing people power. I’ve been inundated with calls, emails and messages from mothers and fathers who want to keep maternity services in Ludlow.
“Now looks like everything is resolved.
“I hope that the plan to reopen Stretton Ward will prove to be a vote in confidence by the health trusts in the future of Ludlow Hospital.”
The statement from the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust
The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) has acted quickly to provide alternative solutions for women wanting to give birth in Ludlow.
Less than a week after it was confirmed that SaTH temporarily suspended services at Ludlow Midwife-Led Unit (MLU) due to concerns about the structural condition of the building, the Trust has arranged for services to be transferred to the Stretton Ward at Ludlow Community Hospital.
Antenatal appointments, booking services and day appointments are being provided at the Stretton Ward with immediate effect, and it is planned that care for women giving birth and postnatal services will be available in the main Ludlow Community Hospital by early November.
Sarah Jamieson, Head of Midwifery at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “The decision to ‘stop the line’ and temporarily suspend services at Ludlow MLU was not taken lightly. It was absolutely the correct decision for the safety of mothers, babies and our staff.
“We remain committed to finding a local solution for local people as soon as this decision was made and I am delighted to confirm that we have already arranged for some services to be temporarily transferred to Stretton Ward at Ludlow Community Hospital, with plans to bring the birthing unit into the main Ludlow Community Hospital by early November.
“This provides a very good environment for women. We will have two labour rooms, a warm and comfortable space for day services, and for the first time in Ludlow an area where we can offer water births.”
Services at Ludlow MLU were temporarily suspended on Friday 14 October.
Sarah added: “As with all older buildings, we regularly monitor their structural integrity. As part of our routine maintenance, we identified serious concerns about the structure of the building. That, combined with the general age of the building, put us in a position where we felt we had to act immediately.
“Following the decision we requested a number of risk assessments to be conducted, including a structural survey, and the majority of those reports, including the structural survey, have now been completed and concluded that the building is not currently fit for use.
“We recognise the importance of providing a local service and that is why we have acted quickly to restore one. Staff have worked really hard to make this happen and I congratulate their efforts.
“I would also like to apologise for any disruption caused over the past few days. Women due to attend Ludlow MLU in the next few weeks have been notified of the changes and of all their options for birth and the important telephone numbers they may require.”