Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has responded to ongoing social media speculation surrounding the future of Stroud Maternity Hospital.
Fears were raised over the weekend following the news postnatal beds were suspended. To negate this, new mums requiring extra postnatal care will be offered the option of home visits or will need to attend another centre.
Chief Executive, Deborah Lee, said: “There are no plans to close Stroud Maternity Unit and I wanted to reiterate our long-term commitment to the future of services in Stroud.
“We are incredibly proud of the work that our colleagues do in maternity and we wanted to thank them for their ongoing commitment and dedication.
“Despite making significant progress over the summer in recruiting new midwives, with 14 new starters this month and a range of targeted initiatives from our dedicated midwifery recruitment team, staffing remains very challenging due to a combination of COVID-19-related sickness, other sickness absence and an ongoing national shortage of midwives.
“This means that we need to deploy our midwives to where they can provide safe, one-to-one care during their labour and birth.
“Our senior management team in maternity, all of whom have many years of experience caring for women and families, sometimes have to make difficult decisions to redeploy our dedicated midwives to ensure that everyone, no matter where they choose to have their baby, continues to receive 1:1 care during their labour and birth.
The latest changes to services are as follows:
- In response to the staffing challenges set out above, we have taken the difficult decision to suspend the provision of postnatal beds at Stroud Maternity to ensure that we can maintain the Stroud birthing service and continue to provide 1-1 care in labour at all times – this decision will be reviewed weekly.
- Postnatal care for those families in Stroud continues to be available in the first 6-12 hours post birth in the Stroud Maternity Unit birthing room after which we encourage early discharge to home. If a mother or baby born at Stroud needs postnatal care that requires in hospital monitoring, this will be accommodated on our Maternity Ward at GRH as usual.
- The community midwifery service in Stroud remains unchanged. Women are offered home visits or the opportunity to attend a postnatal clinic run by midwives in the postnatal period.
Cheltenham Aveta Midwife-Led Unit
- In line with our commitment to review the temporary closure of the Aveta Birthing Unit in the Autumn, we have taken the decision to continue this closure for a further three months with a commitment to review in January 2023.
- All other services at the unit, including planned antenatal care, continue to be provided.
- We continue to offer planned home births but there may be rare occasions when it is not safe to do so due to staffing challenges and this is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
All our services at the Gloucester Birth Unit and the Central Delivery Suite, both in the Women’s Centre at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH), are unaffected by these temporary changes.”