That was the comment from one member of the public at SaTH’s Board meeting on 29th June. It’s all too clear that health bosses haven’t got a clue about the needs of rural areas.
The meeting nodded through a disgraceful paper – a plan to close the three rural maternity units – Oswestry, Bridgnorth, and Ludlow – for the next 24 weeks. This is apparently in order to do a favour for mothers in rural areas, because ‘regular temporary disruption of services is disruptive’. We’ve been telling them that – and that the closures are massively unsafe!
The proposals leave women forced to travel to Shrewsbury or Telford, and with local antenatal and postnatal care reduced from a 24/7 service to a daytime only 9 to 5 service. Inpatient postnatal care is immediately lost. Women can supposedly opt for a home birth – but campaigners already know of women being told this isn’t an option because there aren’t enough midwives, while (after a Ludlow woman recently waited 2 ½ hours for a midwife to attend her home birth) others will be reluctant to take the risk. The future for the Units after the 24 week closure remains unclear.