Campaign launched to protect Oswestry Maternity Unit

Reporter:

Emily Davies

A heartfelt plea has been made by Oswestry parents to protect the town’s maternity unit.

Hundreds of parents have backed a campaign calling on health bosses to rethink their plans to reduce opening hours at the midwife-led unit (MLU) at the Orthopaedic Hospital, which they fear could lead to the closure of the unit altogether.

And they are making an urgent call to people to write letters of support before the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital (SATH) NHS Trust Board confirms its decision – which would also impact Ludlow and Bridgnorth – on Friday in a bid to save £95,000.

Liz Grayson, a mother-of-four who launched the ‘Save Oswestry Maternity Unit’ group on Facebook last week, said the impact will not only put extra stress on women in labour at night who will have to meet a midwife to open up the unit, but also new mothers who spend their first few days with their new arrivals at the unit.

She continued: “We cannot let this go without a fight.

“I am delighted by the response to this group. This is not just about giving birth – it is about the other services they offer. I don’t think a value has been put on that. I get the budget cuts – there’s only so much money – but are they really going to save money in the end?”

More than 1,000 people signed up in 24 hours with many women speaking of their own birthing experiences.

But with so little time, Liz says the best way for people to make their voices heard is by writing to Simon Wright, chief executive of SATH, and Simon Freeman, acting accountable officer of the Clinical Commissioning Group, and telling them personal stories of the Oswestry unit.

The email addresses are simon.wright@sath.nhs.uk and simon.freeman1@nhs.net

Dr Julian Povey Chair of Shropshire CCG, said: “We recognise the important role that local midwifery services play in rural communities and would like to reassure residents that there are currently no plans to close these units.

"We are aware that the Hospital Trust is reviewing maternity services, including the opening times and potential for midwives to provide an overnight on-call service in these units."

Meanwhile, a petition has been launched as part of the campaign, it is available at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/175669

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