Ian Scudamore, Consultant Obstetrician & Clinical Director Women’s and Children’s Services at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “The video brilliantly shows the quality of care and fantastic experience that standalone midwifery units, such as the one at St Mary’s in Melton, are able to provide to mums who have low risk pregnancies. We want all pregnant women across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to have that same opportunity, which is why we are proposing to develop a standalone midwifery unit at the Leicester General Hospital. It is important to understand that the midwifery care and support to women is the same at home as in a standalone birth centre, and in both cases if any medical support is required mum and baby need to be transferred to a main hospital unit.
“Sadly, despite attempts to promote the service at St Mary’s, only around 170 babies are born there each year. In many cases we believe this is because mums-to-be are concerned about being so far from medical support should it be needed during or after the birth. Other women who have low-risk pregnancies and do not want to be close to medical support currently do not have easy access to a standalone birth centre unless they live close to St Marys. Moving the service to Leicester would make it accessible for more families from right across the city and two counties, whilst also being closer to specialised medical intervention should it be needed in an emergency. Unfortunately it is not sustainable to maintain two standalone birth centres and so the proposal is to relocate the birth centre from St Marys.
“Under our proposals, women in Melton would continue to receive care from an expanded team of community midwives, providing continuity of care throughout their pregnancies and after giving birth. We plan to have the same team of midwives available to provide care in labour to women who choose to have their babies at home or in the new standalone birth centre. These options for care would also be available to all women wherever they live in our area.
“It is really important that people have a look at the proposals and let us know their views by filling in the survey. We’re also holding an event online on Thursday 12th November at 7pm which is focusing on the maternity aspects of our proposals and is a great opportunity to find out more and to ask questions.”