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‘Fight not over’ for Ludlow maternity campaign

By Aimee Jones | Ludlow | Health | Published:

A group that is campaigning to save Ludlow's maternity unit will not go down without a fight, a mother has said.

Last year it was announced that births at the unit, as well as those at Bridgnorth and Oswestry, would be suspended for the foreseeable future.

But Alison Hales, a member of Save Ludlow Maternity Unit, said just because things have gone quiet does not mean that the fight is over.

"While to some it may be a forgone conclusion that the closure will be permanent, we still have the consultation at the end of this year and we will continue to fight until the bitter end," she said.

"We will attend all of the meetings, take part in the consultation and continue to put our point of view forward that Shrewsbury and Telford is too far to travel for the women of south Shropshire."

The in-patient wards reopened in January last year following a six-month closure amid concerns about staffing levels, but there were repeated overnight closures.

Expectant mothers can currently receive antenatal and postnatal care in town, but Mrs Hales said it is not good enough.

Under proposals by health commissioners, in the future women will be able to give birth at the consultant-led unit at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, at the hospital’s neighbouring midwife-led unit, at a midwife-led unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or at home. A series of maternity ‘hubs’ would also be created to support women before and after birth.

Mrs Hales said: "These places are too far for women who are in labour to travel but SaTH (Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust) are just not listening.

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"If the unit in Ludlow doesn't re-open for births more people will end up giving birth at home with no support, like me, or like one lady's grandson who was born in a car park because the mother couldn't make it to hospital. It is scary and dangerous."

Mrs Hales gave birth at home two years ago without the support of midwives after she went into labour – despite the midwife-led unit in Ludlow being just minutes away from her front door.

She added: "Things are quiet at the moment because we are in limbo until the consultation opens, which I am led to believe will be at the end of the year.

"Some people seem to think it's a done deal but I am not going to stop screaming about it just yet."

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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