Extended suspension of services at Oswestry MLU

12 February 2018 11:31am

Services at Oswestry Midwife Led Unit (MLU) are to be suspended until 25 February 2018 to ensure the safe care of mums using Shropshire’s maternity services.

Our mums are choosing to have their babies in our Consultant-led unit over our rural MLUs, such as Oswestry. To protect their safety during the birth, we are having to look to temporary closures to allow staff to follow our mums’ decisions.

To remove the uncertainty surrounding the units at Oswestry, Bridgnorth and Ludlow, the reluctant decision has been taken to suspend services at Oswestry for a longer period. Services will be suspended from 8pm today (9 February) until 8am on 25 February. The unit will remain open between 8am and 8pm for antenatal and postnatal services, but will not be able to accept inpatients.

Since full services resumed at the units on 1 January 2018, just 2% of births have taken place at the rural MLUs, with 10 mums delivering their babies there, compared with 474 at other units (Shrewsbury MLU, Wrekin MLU and the Consultant-led unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford).

Sarah Jamieson, Head of Midwifery at SaTH, said: “Despite a successful recruitment campaign which allowed us to reopen our rural MLUs for births at the start of the year, our service continues to see mums choosing the Consultant-led unit over rural MLUs.

“We know that the subject of our MLUs is an emotive one but this decision, which we have not made lightly, is purely about the choice our women are making and about maintaining their safety.

“With 98% of women giving birth away from our rural MLUs, it is important that our midwives are where our mums are.

“By taking this step, we aim to remove the uncertainty that short notice suspension of services causes. Women will still have the choice of giving birth at four other MLUs as well as our Consultant-led unit. Home births will also be maintained during this period.”

Shrewsbury MLU recently reopened for births thanks to the hard work of staff in the midwifery and estates departments after services were suspended when heavy snow in December caused damage to the roof.

Sarah said: “The safety of women and babies using our maternity services continues to be our number one priority. Staffing levels are an important factor in delivering a high-quality, safe service for women and their babies and we are continuing to work to make sure we have the very best teams in the right place.”