Consultation over closing Shropshire's rural midwife units

Plans to permanently stop births taking place at three rural midwife-led units in Shropshire will go out to consultation in September, it has been confirmed.

Dr Jess Sokolov, medical director of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said she was proposing that births will not resume at the units in Oswestry, Bridgnorth and Ludlow.

She told a meeting of Shropshire and Telford Council’s Joint Health Overview Scrutiny Committee, that she wants to keep births limited to Shrewsbury and Telford, but that other maternity services will continue to be offered at the midwife-led sites. This will include scans, check-ups and mental health services.

She said bosses are currently aiming to put the plans out for consultation in September for a period of eight weeks.

She said a decision will then be taken on the future of the units.

She said: “We are aiming to have a case ready to go out to the public for September. The public consultation will last for eight weeks and we will have a website, an online survey and will also hold drop-in events.

“At the moment the rural midwife-led units will not have births taking place, they will be focused at Telford and Shrewsbury.

“However, other services will still be held at the rural units, including scans and mental health appointments.”

The three units at Oswestry, Ludlow and Bridgnorth, have been closed to births for 18 months, but are still used for ante and post-natal care.

Dr Sokolov added: “I cannot guarantee that what we come up with will be perfect forever and we will listen and act on things.

“I agree that a public consultation exercise will be listened to and acted upon.”

Last year, health bosses said more than 98 per cent of women were choosing to give birth away from the rural units.

The model also proposes offering five maternity ‘hubs’ which would provide midwifery care and a range of other services, open seven days a week, 12 hours a day.

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