Following the closure of the post natal unit at Stroud Maternity Hospital earlier this year, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has today issued an update.
Chief Executive, Deborah Lee, said: “Following assurances over our long-term commitment to the future of Stroud Maternity Unit (SMU), we would like to further clarify the position on postnatal beds and set out the next steps for reinstating this provision.
“It’s important to remind the public that SMU remains open as normal for antenatal appointments, care in labour and birth and immediate postnatal support for patients and families.
“Thanks to a range of targeted initiatives from our dedicated midwifery recruitment team we have made significant progress over the summer in recruiting new midwives, with 14 new starters in October and a further seven being offered places in November. However, staffing remains very challenging due to a combination of sickness, maternity leave, COVID-related sickness and an ongoing national shortage of midwives.
“Given that it is unlikely that staffing levels will change sufficiently to enable us to reopen the service in the coming weeks, we have decided to move from a weekly review pattern, to a review in January.
“We would also like to remind patients in the Cheltenham area that the Aveta Birth Unit, which is temporarily closed, will also be reviewed in the New Year (January 2023).
“We recognise that postnatal beds are a much-loved facility in the Stroud community and that there is some confusion over service provision in the town and surrounding area. Therefore, we wanted to remind the public that more information is available on our website including a FAQs. In the meantime, the current service provision is outlined below.”
Stroud Maternity Unit
- Postnatal care for those families in Stroud continues to be available in the first 6-12 hours post birth in Stroud birthing room after which we encourage early discharge to home. If a mother or baby born at Stroud needs postnatal care that requires on-going in hospital monitoring, this will be accommodated on our Maternity Ward at GRH
- 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
- The Aveta Birthing Unit will continue to remain closed to new births and this will be reviewed 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.
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
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.