Join fight to pre­serve our lo­cal ser­vices

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Opinion -

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,

Wilt­shire

Horse on Cleeve Hill near Chel­tenham, spot­tedby Michael Broome

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