HOSPITALS set to take over maternity services from Stafford have moved to reassure local women they will be well cared for if Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust’s administrators’ plans go through.
Under the draft recommendations submitted by Mid Staffs administrators, current maternity services at Stafford would cease, with pregnant women instead giving birth at neighbouring hospitals in Stoke, Walsall or Wolverhampton.
Karen Meadowcroft, head of midwifery at University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) said she was ‘very proud of the maternity service provided at UHNS.
“We continue to make significant improvements to the service we provide to the 5,800 new babies born here every year,” she said. “Our maternity and neonatal unit has been fully accredited as 'UNICEF Baby Friendly' from 2002, which means that we have reached and maintained best practice standards to support mothers with breastfeeding.”
Ms Meadowcroft, who was appointed head of midwifery at the trust in October 2011 said the unit had not closed its doors to admissions since she began in her role.
She said the unit had been awarded Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts Level two – A scheme administered by The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) giving organisations demonstrating compliance a discount on the maternity element of their contributions - and hoped to achieve level three, the highest award, next year.
“That involved a comprehensive assessment of our guidelines and standards in relation to safe care for mothers and babies,” she said.
Sue Hartley, director of nursing at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said thousands of women gave birth in the trust’s maternity department every year.
“Last year we opened our brand new Midwifery Led Unit in Walsall town centre which offers women even more choice when deciding where to have their baby,” she said. “We have never yet had to ‘close our doors’ to any patients.”
She said in the wake of administrators’ recommendations to close Stafford Hospital’s maternity department it was likely that more women would choose to give birth in Walsall.
“As a result of this we are looking at a major extension to our maternity unit which would cope with extra births coming from the Staffordshire area,” she said.
“Patient safety is one of our top priorities and with adequate investment and robust planning we will be looking to be able to accommodate any potential additional births within our maternity department safely, allowing parents continued choice when deciding where to have their babies.”
A spokesman for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust told the Newsletter the trust had not had to close its doors to incoming maternity patients due to maternity being full at any time in the last 18 months.