Shropshire

Shropshire rural maternity units to reopen

Entrance to Bridgnorth Maternity unit Image copyright Save Bridgnorth Maternity Unit Group
Image caption Bridgnorth Maternity unit is one of three in Shropshire that will reopen

Three rural maternity units in Shropshire are to reopen for full births from the new year.

Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry Midwife-Led Units (MLUs) will reopen at 11:00 GMT on 1 January, the hospital trust says.

The units closed in July due to staff shortages, but the trust says it has been able to recruit extra midwives.

The hospital trust has advised women to contact their midwife if they want to give birth at one of the MLUs

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Image caption Health commissioners are proposing to stop births at the three rural units in the long-term

A statement from the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said recruiting extra staff was essential to deliver a "high-quality, safe service for women and their babies".

As well as its recruitment drive, the trust said it had introduced an on-call approach for midwives attending home births to create greater flexibility.

Alison Hiles, part of the Save Ludlow Maternity Unit campaign group, called the news of the reopening "brilliant".

"It is a step in the right direction, and we hope they are here to stay."

Image copyright Mark Hiles
Image caption Alison's Hiles's daughter Amelie was delivered at home by her husband, but she wanted to give birth at Ludlow hospital

Despite the reopening, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are still considering a shake-up of maternity services that would see the rural MLUs shut for births, with pregnant women only able to deliver at the Royal Shrewsbury and Telford's Princess Royal hospitals, or at home.

Under the plans, Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry MLUs would be used for ante and post-natal care.

The new model has already been approved by Shropshire CCG and now needs approval from Telford and Wrekin CCG before a public consultation can begin.

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