Campaigners fighting to keep Oswestry Maternity Unit open 24 hours a day are calling on expectant mothers to “use it, or lose it”.
Mum-of-four Liz Grayson established the campaign in December after health bosses revealed possibly turning the unit – and those in Ludlow and Bridgnorth – into birthing centres, which would be open only during the day and night specifically for births.
She said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has been supporting the campaign and who has signed or shared the petition.
“We now need to promote the units and that means getting expectant mothers to give birth at them when it is safe to do so. It’s a case of use it, or lose it.
“We need to show that we need them.”
It is reported that each unit needs around 100 births a year to make them safe. That figure includes only births that take place at the centre – and not mothers who start their labour there but give birth elsewhere.
The campaign has received a boost from North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, who gave his support following a meeting with Mrs Grayson.
He said: “We had a huge battle about 10 years ago to protect this service. Mothers facing births without complications should be allowed to have their children as near as possible to home.
“Having to go to Telford makes things very difficult, especially for mothers who already have children and have to face leaving them at home.
“We need to make this really clear.”
Mr Paterson has invited Mrs Grayson to speak at the next Oswestry Health Group meeting, when he will also be inviting officials from SATH.
Mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Paul Milner, who is also supporting the campaign, added: “I’d like to thank Liz for all the work she is doing – we really need to raise awareness now.”
A conference of the future of the three MLUs was due to take place at the RSH yesterday. The petition is available in shops around Oswestry, including the Advertizer office in Oswald Road, and is also available online at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/175669