Plans to close maternity units slated as mothers turned away
PLANS to axe two community maternity units in Greater Glasgow “make no sense” it has been claimed, after a number of expectant mothers were turned away from full labour wards this week.
Scottish Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar has called for a rethink on proposals to close the units at Inverclyde Royal Hospital and the Vale of Leven Hospital in West Dunbartonshire.
His call came after the maternity unit at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital closed to new admissions from 9am to 3pm on Thursday for the first time in seven years as beds ran out in its labour rooms and maternity wards.
He said: “If pregnant women are being turned away from the biggest hospital in the country, it makes no sense to reduce maternity services in the area.”
The health board said the shutdown was “extremely unusual” but had come about as a result of a spike in admissions and “a number of women and babies developing complications”.
Three expectant mothers were sent to the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) in Paisley and the Princess Royal Maternity in Glasgow instead, while two other women had planned procedures “safely deferred for a matter of hours”. A board spokeswoman said the unit was running normally yesterday.
In 2015/16 there were only 17 deliveries at Inverclyde Royal Hospital and 43 at the Vale of Leven.
The board has proposed closing the units and sending mothers to the Queen Elizabeth, the RAH, and Princess Royal Maternity instead, but the decision has been passed to the Government as it is considered a “major service change” that could reduce accessibility for patients.
A Government spokeswoman said: “We have already instructed a review of all maternity and neonatal services across the country, due to be published shortly.
“NHSGGC will take full account of this review before progressing any proposals for maternity services in Inverclyde and the Vale of Leven.
“No decisions have been made and these proposals must still be subject to formal public consultation and, ultimately, ministerial approval.
“The temporary divert in place for a few hours at the QEUH maternity unit was caused by high levels of admissions and women and babies developing complications.
“NHSGGC took the right steps to protect patient safety, ensuring the highest standards of care for women and babies in Glasgow.”
ANAS SARWAR: Has called for a rethink on closures.