Join fight to preserve our local services
THE needs of expectant mothers in Wiltshire are being sacrificed to balance the books in the RUH in Bath!
There is a very serious problem hidden behind the Maternity Transformation Consultation – closing Trowbridge Birthing Unit – the fact that the Princess Anne Maternity Wing at RUH is seriously short of midwives. That was the reason why Trowbridge Unit was temporarily closed in 2014 – the
RUH Unit had failed a Quality Care Commission inspection due to hygiene, poor control of infection and lack of midwives. The Unit needed more midwives to pass the re-inspection. Once that sleight of hand had been accomplished, the Trowbridge Unit could reopen.
In 2016, following more criticism by the Quality Care Commission about staffing levels in the Princess Anne Wing, the RUH took all the midwives serving in the community Birthing Units in Trowbridge, Chippenham, Frome and Paulton under its control, amalgamating the previously separate Maternity Service into the RUH.
Admissions to the Trowbridge Birthing Unit then plummeted by 50 per cent – 140 – in the following year!
The Maternity Transformation Consultation is the latest ploy. It proposes a new stand alongside Birthing Unit on the RUH site, yet in August last year the RUH already had a shortage of 14.4 per cent in midwives and nurses, this the greatest shortfall since 2015, in its existing maternity provision!
Where are the necessary additional midwives going to come from? Well, the White Horse midwife Birthing Unit at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon was only opened after the maternity provision was closed in Devizes and Malmesbury. Is its great rival, the RUH, following the same strategy?
To get enough midwives, surely the Chippenham and Frome Units would also go, to fuel this drive towards centralising Birthing Units along the M4.
The whole Maternity Transformation process looks to be an elaborate cover-up to conceal the endemic staff shortages at the Princess Anne Maternity Unit by siphoning off midwives from the Birthing Units clandestinely.
Yet the Government announces that more emphasis should be on community services, that hospitals cannot cope.
Community Birthing units, run effectively, are cheaper and more cost effective than expensive hospital Birthing suites with all their on-costs. We must fight to preserve local services.
There is already an online petition ‘Keep Funding Trowbridge Birthing Centre’ which is already close to 3,000 signatures. Please add your name.
Access the Transforming Maternity Services Together consultation online or pick up a booklet and make clear your opposition to its proposals. Low risk mothers, especially in their second and subsequent pregnancies, do not need to go to hospital. A P Milroy,
Horse on Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham, spottedby Michael Broome