Plans to close ma­ter­nity units slated as moth­ers turned away

The Herald - - NEWS -

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.

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