Hereford & Worcester

North Worcestershire birth centre plans decision criticised

Alexandra Hospital sign
Image caption A maternity unit at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch was temporarily shut in October due to staff shortages

A decision to shelve plans to open a new birth centre in north Worcestershire has been criticised.

Sharon Harvey, from campaign group Save the Alex, said Redditch "gets nothing" whereas Worcester has a birth centre.

Proposals for the new north Worcestershire centre have been put on hold by Redditch & Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Doctors thought there would not be enough demand to justify the £1m running costs.

The decision means expectant mothers in the Redditch area would have to continue travelling to Birmingham, Warwick or Worcester.

'Worcester got everything'

A separate maternity unit at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch was initially temporarily shut due to staff shortages for six months from October last year before being extended as a temporary measure in February.

Ms Harvey said: "We can't have a birth centre. Worcester has one, though.

"Worcester has a hospital. Worcester has a proper A&E - we are getting really tired of 'Worcester got everything' and Redditch gets nothing."

On Friday the CCG said in 2014 an independent panel recommended CCGs should consider consulting on whether there should be a "standalone midwifery-led birth centre in the north of the county".

The CCG has said it now supported a recommendation that the proposed centre should be left out of a consultation "on the proposed clinical model for acute services" in Worcestershire.

It said the recommendation had been made in a report from the Future of Acute Hospital Services Programme Board.

The CCG stated neonatal nursing staff shortages, how the Worcestershire Royal Hospital has coped with more births and the impact of the Meadow Birth Centre, which opened at the Worcestershire Royal in April 2015, were looked at when this report was produced.

The CCG said it would instead "look into the possibility of conducting a separate study outside of the Future of Acute Hospitals Services programme to look at whether this facility [a new birth centre in north Worcestershire] is viable locally".

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