Kent

Deadline close in East Kent maternity services review

Time is running out for people to give their views on plans to close birthing centres in Canterbury and Dover.

Consultation on a review of maternity services in east Kent ends on Friday.

The review has recommended the centres should close because of the falling numbers of women choosing to give birth there.

Under the NHS trust's preferred option, women would use units in Ashford and Margate. Opponents have said women should be able to give birth locally.

Canterbury councillor Martin Vye said local units were needed for women who could not move so easily across the county and Virginia Howes, an independent midwife, said local midwife-led units were needed for women with low-risk pregnancies.

The consultation is being led by NHS Kent and Medway and East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust.

NHS chiefs said the review was prompted by the changing patterns of where women chose to give birth, combined with a rising birth rate.

All responses from the public, midwives, GPs and NHS staff are to be analysed by researchers at the University of Greenwich.

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