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  1. ITV Report

Trust to propose suspending maternity services

Proposals to suspend services at Midwife-Led Units in Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry for up to six months will be considered tomorrow. Photo:

It has been announced that proposals to suspend services at Midwife-Led Units in Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry for between three and six months will be considered tomorrow.

It comes after the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust say it has faced a combination of short-term and long-term sickness in recent months, as well as a significant fall in the number of midwives prepared to work overtime or temporary bank shifts to cover shifts at times of sickness.

The number of births at the Consultant-Led Maternity Unit in Telford has risen from 3,795 in 2014-15 to 4,194 in 2016/17.

The trust says it is these factors which have meant they have had to deploy existing staff in different ways to maintain safe levels of staffing. The Board will be asked to approve a report which recommends suspending services at Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry MLUs for between three and six months from 1 July 2017. The trust were keen to confirm that If the plan is approved, women who have chosen to give birth at the MLUs during this period will be able to access their midwife as usual and be offered a birth at an alternative MLU location, such as Shrewsbury or Wrekin MLU, or they can choose the Consultant-Led Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford or a home birth if appropriate. Credit: PA.

The trust says it is these factors which have meant they have had to deploy existing staff in different ways to maintain safe levels of staffing.

The Board will be asked to approve a report which recommends suspending services at Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry MLUs for between three and six months from 1 July 2017.

It has been announced that proposals to suspend services at Midwife-Led Units in Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry for between three and six months will be considered tomorrow. Credit: ITV News.

The trust were keen to confirm that If the plan is approved, women who have chosen to give birth at the MLUs during this period will be able to access their midwife as usual and be offered a birth at an alternative MLU location, such as Shrewsbury or Wrekin MLU, or they can choose the Consultant-Led Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford or a home birth if appropriate.

The number of births at the Consultant-Led Maternity Unit in Telford has risen from 3,795 in 2014-15 to 4,194 in 2016/17. Credit: PA.

Deirdre Fowler, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Quality at SaTH, said:

“The safety of mothers and babies using our service is our number one priority and this proposal, albeit difficult, is something we have given careful consideration. We have seen a high level of demand on our Consultant-Led Unit (85% of local women are giving birth here)."

"At the same time we have faced a combination of short-term and long-term sickness, as well as a significant fall in the number of midwives prepared to work overtime or temporary bank shifts to cover shifts at times of sickness. This has meant that at times we have had to temporarily suspend services at our MLUs due to staffing shortages."

We appreciate that such temporary suspensions of service are disruptive for mothers-to-be, their families and our staff and create uncertainty for women about whether an MLU will be open or not when they go into labour. “As a result, we are proposing temporarily suspending services at our MLUs in Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry for between three and six months in a measured and planned way, rather than having to suspend some services temporarily at short notice to ensure we continue to provide a safe overall service. "

– Deirdre Fowler, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Quality.