How do you maintain choice for mothers by closing maternity units?

Today, the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) issued a press release about the plan to convert midwifery-led maternity units (MLUs) in Ludlow, Oswestry and Bridgnorth to on-call services. This means that mums-to-be must ring to arrange for a midwife to come to unlock the maternity unit before care can be provided for the mother and child. This could possibly work if births came according to a prearranged schedule but that’s not the way that pregnancies run. SaTH says this will “maintain choice for mums-to-be”. I can’t see that being the case.

If you don’t use a health facility, it will be closed. The mums-to-be I have spoken to are clear that they need certainty. They fear they will call a midwife when in labour and none will be available outside Telford. They need a clear pathway at an uncertain time of life. This panic plan will not deliver that. What it will deliver a few months from now is the permanent closure of rural midwifery units.

The SaTH press release is reproduced in full below.

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Tracey Huffer fears we will lose our midwifery-led maternity units

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.

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Is this the end for Ludlow Maternity Unit & Community Hospital? I fear so

BBC Radio Shropshire has just reported the following.

“The trust which runs Shropshire’s main hospitals is proposing to shut its midwife-led maternity units around the county and replace them with a system of on-call midwives who will come out if needed. The Shrewsbury and Hospital NHS Trust insists it is not pre-empting the outcome of a review into the future of the services. But it says wants to avoid the recent situation where the units have been closed at short-notice because of sickness.”

I fear this is the end for the three rural maternity units in Ludlow, Bridgnorth and Oswestry.

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Underinvestment is link between attacks on NHS computers and unexpected Ludlow home birth

At the time I write this, there are predictions that the attack on NHS and many other computers in organisations worldwide will get worse. The ransomware is exploiting a specific vulnerability in computer operating systems. In the NHS, that vulnerability is chronic lack of investment.

In a seemingly unrelated event last weekend, maternity campaigner Alison Hiles gave birth at her east Ludlow home after Ludlow Maternity Unit was closed at short notice. But the reason that the doors of the maternity unit were shut was yet again the chronic lack of investment in the NHS.

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Petition to save Bridgnorth and Ludlow Maternity Units – please sign

It is bad news if you are about to give birth over New Year. Both Ludlow and Bridgnorth maternity led units are suffering overnight closures, with Ludlow closed on New Year’s Eve. This is a taste of the future. The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust is planning to close midwifery-led maternity units, including Ludlow, overnight.

Campaigners have set up a parliamentary petition calling on our local maternity units to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please add your signature here…

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