Yet again, “staff sickness” has closed Ludlow and Oswestry maternity units. The level of staff sickness in our rural maternity units is extraordinary. Almost week in, week out we see a closure due to “staff sickness”. This is not staff sickness. It is understaffing and underfunding. It is a strategy that is set to deprive rural areas from vital maternity services.
It looks like rural maternity units won’t last long. Why on earth would a mother book into units that could be closed at a minute’s notice? Mothers won’t go there because they don’t want uncertainly at the most important time in their lives. Then Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) will then declare them to be unnecessary. We must fight this.
Here is the statement from SaTH published today.
Temporary suspension of services at Ludlow and Oswestry MLUs
Services for women booked to give birth at Ludlow Midwife-Led Unit (MLU) and Oswestry MLU have been temporarily suspended until 8am on Wednesday 21 June. Day services for expectant mums will continue as normal.
Women booked to give birth at Ludlow and Oswestry MLUs who go into labour during the temporary suspension of services will be offered a birth at another MLU. If any women due to give birth at Ludlow or Oswestry MLU require support during this time they will be able to access a Midwife.
The suspension of services, which began at 8pm last night (Tuesday 13 June), is due to on-going staff sickness.
We are contacting any women who have chosen to deliver at Ludlow or Oswestry MLU and are likely to give birth in the near future to inform them and offer an alternative location to give birth if they go into labour during the temporary suspension of services.
Anthea Gregory-Page, Deputy Head of Midwifery at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), said: “Unfortunately, sickness which has been affecting the Midwifery service over recent weeks is continuing and, as a result, we are temporarily suspending services at Ludlow MLU and Oswestry MLU until 8am on Wednesday 21. I would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
“We are contacting women who have chosen to deliver at either Ludlow or Oswestry MLU and who are due to give birth in the near future to inform them and offer an alternative location to give birth if they go into labour whilst services are suspended.”
SaTH have also published an interview with Sarah Jamieson (Head of Midwifery) “about why these temporary closures are necessary to ensure the continued safety of all women using our Maternity Services.”