SaTH launches a consultation to “temporarily” close rural maternity units permanently

Today Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust launched a six week consultation on the future of rural maternity services. It has kept this very quiet. The review follows the extended closure of MLUs in Ludlow, Bridgnorth and Oswestry.

Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East, says: “It’s almost a joke. It is so typical of the way that SaTH is working.”

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Tracey continues:

The midwife led maternity units have been closed for births for weeks. Now SaTH has launched a consultation intended to make the closure for births permanent.

SaTH may try to pretend that the closure of MLUs for births is temporary. The reality is that it will be permanent. It may blame a shortage of staff. The reality is that SaTH itself has created that shortage. SaTH may plead that women are “preferring” to give birth in Shrewsbury or Telford. The reality is that rural mothers have had no choice where to give birth because SaTH has constantly closed the rural midwifery led units at short notice.

I am lost for words. We have been here before. We have been backwards and forwards time and time again on closures and consultations.

But SaTH has not listened to anything said so far. Rural mothers around the county have shouted loud that they want to give birth locally. They have organised protest marches. But the health trust has not listened to anything the mothers who love the maternity units in Ludlow, Bridgnorth and Oswestry.

Families in rural areas deserve first class local maternity services. We have had that service until just a few years ago. The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust now wants to withdraw midwifery led maternity services from rural areas.

The time is long overdue for SaTH to recognise that it is also the Shropshire hospital trust. It must serve us all, not just Shrewsbury and Telford.

It will be a huge blow to rural life if mothers are permanently banned from giving birth in our community hospitals.

Extended closure of rural maternity units is an excuse to close them permanently – it’s wrong

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust today announced that the rural maternity units at Ludlow, Oswestry and Bridgnorth are to remain closed for births indefinitely. This decision has been made ahead of a public consultation on the future of the MLUs. It is obvious that SaTH intends to close the three MLUs permanently. It claims that 98% of women are “choosing” to give birth elsewhere. Of course this is so. The rural MLUs are rarely open for births.

This has been a cynical exercise to shut the MLUs by stealth.

Continue reading “Extended closure of rural maternity units is an excuse to close them permanently – it’s wrong”

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.

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

Charade of a review will close Ludlow Maternity Unit for live births – this makes a mockery of public consultation

“After this people will have no trust in public consultation.” That’s the view of Councillor Tracey Huffer after the Clinical Commissioning Groups decided to downgrade Shropshire’s rural maternity units. The plan, still subject to confirmation, is that only prenatal and postnatal services will be offered at Ludlow, Bridgnorth and Oswestry maternity units. Babies will have to be born somewhere else. As we have seen in Ludlow, that will sometimes be at home without medical support. This downgrading of rural services has been described by one medical professional as “a real and exciting opportunity”.

Continue reading “Charade of a review will close Ludlow Maternity Unit for live births – this makes a mockery of public consultation”

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.

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