Ludlow Maternity Unit closes for two weeks – welcome to Shropshire’s version of Groundhog Day

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has decided to lose Ludlow Maternity Unit  for two weeks. Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East says:

I have completely lost track of how often we have heard that Ludlow Maternity Unit is to close temporarily. A few days later, it reopens. And not long after that, the health trust, SaTH, announces the maternity unit is to close yet again. Maternity services in rural Shropshire look like they are stuck in a Groundhog Day.

We are told by SaTH that women are choosing to give birth at the consultant-led maternity units in Telford and Shrewsbury. This is no more than a Hobson’s Choice. All expectant mothers need confidence in maternity services. They want to give birth in a calm and familiar environment.

Ludlow and the other rural maternity units are closer to where many expectant mothers live. The units have long provided calmness and familiarity. They are the first choice for many mothers.

But nervous mothers have little choice but to opt to go to Shrewsbury or to Telford, or even out of county to Hereford. If they choose Ludlow, the chances are it will be closed at no notice due to yet another staff shortage or other excuse.

I am very angry that SaTH has in the past few days rebutted rural health campaigners claims that it ultimately plans to close maternity units. We are not scaremongering. We are asking tough questions. It is SaTH that is scaring mothers into giving birth a long way from their homes. It is SaTH that is saying there is no risk for women in labour travelling on difficult narrow roads at short notice. But many expectant mothers find that scary. As a nurse, I find that scary.

The timing of labour and giving birth is unpredictable. But one thing at least is predictable here in south west Shropshire. Once labour starts, it will be pot luck whether Ludlow Maternity Unit will be open.

I fear it will not be many weeks before SaTH announces that so few babies are being born in Ludlow and other rural maternity units, they must close permanently. Then the health trust will have got the result it clearly wants. Shutting down all Shropshire’s rural maternity units.

4 thoughts on “Ludlow Maternity Unit closes for two weeks – welcome to Shropshire’s version of Groundhog Day

  1. I am getting very upset this keeps happening, it is indicative of everything Hunt and Hammond and the cronies all who use private medical do in their painful agenda.

    We lost our hospital that our MP fought for under the previous administration, we are losing an A & E (more people yet less facilities?) lost ost of the wards in Ludlow….sound the death knells…yet they keep voting Tory

  2. if it is following previous patterns then the shortage of maternity unit staff is occurring in the consultant led unit resulting in midwives being called in to fill the gap. Does anyone know whether this is so in this instance?

  3. I agree Andy, it’s an old ploy to close unit periodically and then claim it isn’t being used as figures for births prove and so is uneconomic to operate.
    Now our local MP is once more a ‘backbencher’ he has stated that he will address his time to local issues so here’s your chance….broadband can wait, the future for community hospitals cannot.

  4. Hi Paul and just wonder if you have seen Philip Dunne’s latest recomendation to acept the Future Fit … aka Future Farce?

    I would not trust any recomendation from any Con who still believes that using taxPAYERS money to maintain corp profits, in return for which we get nothing but ever oncreasing incompetence, ever increasing chages, and reducing “services” is a GOOD IDEA.
    They REALLY make me sick, and REALLY afraid to have to face hospitalisation.

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