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Letter to the editor: I am very concerned about the situation with postnatal beds at Stroud Maternity Unit

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Dear Editor,

As the former Chair of Stroud Maternity Matters (and as someone who benefitted from their excellent care), I am very concerned about the situation with postnatal beds at Stroud Maternity Unit.

The World Health Organisation recommendations (published this year!) say that women and birthing people should remain in a healthcare setting for at least 24 hours after an uncomplicated birth, and surveys show that most want to stay in 2-3 days. NICE Guidelines say that they should be able to stay until they and their caregivers agree it is the right decision for them to be discharged.

As we have heard from countless local mothers this week, this time was vital for the health of them and their babies. I would like to know how Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust justify going against these recommendations and needs? “Shortage of staff” is the Trust’s problem, it isn’t an excuse for putting the health and well-being of mothers and babies at risk.

they need to address it urgently, not give vague and empty promises of a “weekly review”.

I have maximum compassion for the midwives in the current situation, I can only imagine the amount of strain they must be under. I hope they are as angry with the Trust as we are. This situation is the result of years of mismanagement at a government and local level – even the Trust’s staff lack confidence in them to the extent that they sent a letter of no confidence to the management last year.

Staff, women, and babies shouldn’t have to pay the price of a badly managed service, it’s totally unacceptable and they need to be held to account.

Where is “our MP” Siobhan Baille’s voice in all this? What is she doing to hold the Trust to account and ensure they fix this unacceptable situation urgently?

Every day that goes by risks further harm, we need to know that postnatal services will be fully restored to Stroud as soon as possible and be given a firm date for when that will happen.

Yours sincerely,

Ella Hoskin

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