Tracey Huffer, Councillor for Ludlow East and a practising nurse, has issued a statement on the news yesterday that the midwifery-led maternity units (MLUs) will be converted to an on-call system. She said:
“The Trust that runs Shropshire’s main hospitals has in recent discussions put forward proposal to replace all three midwifery-led maternity units (MLUs) in Ludlow, Oswestry and Bridgnorth with an on-call system. This effectively means a woman in labour will have to telephone through to request a midwife to meet them and unlock the doors to the unit! This will possibly be 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.
“In Ludlow, we have seen our MLU closed on several occasions recently.
“This has not helped mums-to-be in choosing Ludlow Maternity as their preferred place to give birth. Having spoken to several, it’s clear that they want certainty. They speak highly of they care received in Ludlow but do not want the stress and risk attached of being booked into a unit that closes at the drop of a hat.
“I believe this is playing straight into SaTH’s arms. They say that they do not want to staff buildings where there may be no activity. Now they will be able to say that our MLUs are no longer viable due to the falling numbers using them.
SaTH say an on-call system is an interim response to ongoing issues, but I fear what it actually means is we will lose our midwifery-led maternity units.
“This will most certainly be another nail in the coffin for Ludlow Hospital, it is very bleak news for our rural health services. Who is going to champion our community care? At present, it feels that our health care providers are certainly not doing so.”