Maternity unit is forced to close doors overnight

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Border Counties)

Mothers in labour were unable to give birth in Oswestry last week after the midwife-led unit (MLU) was closed overnight.

Staff shortages a week last Friday led to health bosses taking the decision to close the unit, which is based at the Orthopaedic Hospital, forcing mothers to travel to either the MLU at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, the consultant-led unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford or the unit at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

A further temporary closure hit the MLU in Bridgnorth on Thursday night.

The closures meant mothers who wanted to return to their local area following their birth had to either stay put or go home.

The temporary closure came just hours after the woman behind the ‘Save Oswestry Maternity Unit’ campaign Liz Grayson called on mothers- to-be to use the unit in a bid to protect its future.

Today, the mother-of-four said temporary closures should not be acceptable.

She said: “It would be wrong to sit back and relax, so we will be continuing the campaign. It is important we carry on.

“Clearly, we are seeing another round of temporary closures and it is really disappointing for all those people who wanted to give birth in these units or wanted to transfer back. It’s something that needs to be looked at.”

Mrs Grayson, who attended a conference on maternity services in Shropshire last Monday, added: “Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what we were hoping for.

“There was lots of conversation from Simon Wright, the SATH chief executive, about engaging with the public and what changes the public think should be made.”

The campaign was launched in December after the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SATH) revealed plans to turn the midwife-led units at Oswestry, Bridgnorth and Ludlow into birthing centres, meaning they would be open during the day but close overnight, except for women who were in labour.

Sarah Jamieson, head of midwifery at SATH said: “Unfortunately due to last-minute staff sickness, we had to temporarily suspend services at Oswestry unit from 8pm last Friday until 8am on Saturday.

“We contacted women who had chosen to deliver at Oswestry and who were due to give birth in the near future to inform them and offer an alternative location to give birth if they went into labour.

“I would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

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