After today’s decision, it’s fine to live in rural Shropshire unless you are pregnant

Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East and a practising nurse, responds to the decision today by SaTH to close the rural midwifery-led maternity units at Ludlow, Oswestry and Bridgnorth for up to 24 weeks.

“This is disgraceful. This is disgusting.

“If Ludlow and the other rural maternity units are closed for nearly six months, they will never reopen.

“SaTH says that the closure will not affect the ongoing review of rural maternity units. I don’t believe that. The review will see the closed units as easy savings to be made at a time when neither the CCG or SaTH have enough money to make ends meet. The maternity unit review is rapidly becoming a shambles.

“Will other maternity units be able to cope with the extra workload now that the rural maternity units are closed? Telford might just. But Telford is a long and difficult drive from Ludlow with no public transport. Many Ludlow mothers will opt for Hereford. But that is a small unit and may not have the capacity.

“Many of us have tried to be positive and work with SaTH. But now it has got emotional. Health professionals cannot stand by and say this is all about reviews and resources.

“It is about people. It is about young mothers. It is about babies.

“The decision today shows no regard for the safety of mothers. There seems to have been no consideration of the emotional impact on young mothers at an incredibly stressful time of their lives.

“Today’s decision is like saying to young people, it’s fine to live in rural Shropshire unless you are pregnant.”