New maternity plan defended by county health bosses
Health bosses in Shropshire say the planned model of care for midwifery services across the county does fit the national Better Births strategy.
Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group was reacting after Mary Newburn, executive manager of the National Midwifery Unit Network, said it was shocked at the proposed model which would see an end to births and inpatient postnatal care at Oswestry, Bridgnorth and Ludlow maternity units – instead offering pre and postnatal outpatient care.
The proposals follow a review of midwife-led unit services across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
A final decision has yet to be made, with the CCG saying it will consult on the future of maternity services.
Dr Simon Freeman, accountable officer at Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said Ms Newburn had raised a specific set of issues with the Shropshire CCG by letter.
He said: “Shropshire CCG has undertaken a review of the midwife-led units in Shropshire.
"The review shows that the current model is not equitable and, more importantly, is not clinically sustainable.
“We are confident that by creating a model which is sustainable and deliverable, we will be able to improve confidence in the reliability of the service.
“The current service delivery pressures lead to intermittent closures of these units, causing anxiety for women and staff alike.
“We aim to address that with our proposed model, and to offer a full range of birthing options – and extensive community based ante-natal and postnatal support – in a reliable, sustainable way.
"The proposed new service model for midwifery-led care will meet the needs of the population of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin including rural communities and will fulfil the requirements of Better Births.
"Our service model proposes to retain a full choice of birth settings as defined in Better Births that is a consultant led unit, alongside MLU, freestanding MLU and home birth.
"This is currently only offered in 22 per cent of trusts and boards.
"The proposed consultation on Shropshire’s midwife-led units will allow the whole population of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin to feedback on the proposals agreed in principle by Shropshire CCG and Telford & Wrekin CCG.”