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Letter to the editor: imperative overnight beds are reinstated

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Dear Editor, as Chair of Stroud Hospital League of Friends, I am writing to endorse the comments made by Dr Simon Opher about the need for the reopening of the overnight beds at Stroud Maternity Hospital, and of the concerted efforts of the community, including Stroud Hospital League of Friends, to achieve this.

For prospective mothers there are sound clinical reasons for electing to go to Stroud Maternity, as Dr Opher has pointed out. Many may not know that the League of Friends has upgraded the provision and facilities at Stroud Maternity by many thousands of pounds helping to make it a safe, comfortable and welcoming place to give birth. In addition, in collaboration with the hospital, the League has funded pre- and post-natal singing and yoga for a number of years. We believe that Stroud is unique as this provision is totally free, making it available to all mothers regardless of their financial circumstances.

Following on from the beneficial impact of the singing and yoga, again in collaboration with Stroud Maternity Hospital, the League of Friends has agreed to fund a new programme of practical, emotional and companionship support for mothers beyond the initial post-natal period and statutory support. As before this will be free to mothers and their babies. Once again we believe this to be unique. This is due to start in September.

So there are many reasons for mothers to be confident in electing to go Stroud Maternity Hospital. The delivery and immediate post-natal care, along with the home visits, remains excellent and caring. The only service that is affected is the overnight beds and we are working collectively to get those reinstated.

Dr Roma Walker,

Chair, Stroud Hospital League of Friends

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