Reviews of maternity services identified that the standalone birthing centre at St Mary’s Hospital in Melton Mowbray is not accessible for the majority of women in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. It is also under-used with just one birth taking place every three days. Our proposal would see the relocation of the midwifery-led unit at St Mary’s Hospital to Leicester General Hospital.
While we are proposing to move the midwifery-led unit, we would maintain community maternity services in Melton Mowbray. We would ensure that there is support for home births and care before and after the baby is born in the local community. If someone has a complicated pregnancy, antenatal care would be provided in an outpatient service located at Leicester Royal Infirmary or in remote/virtual clinics.
As part of the consultation we would want to test if a new standalone midwifery-led centre would be used by expectant mothers, if appropriate to their individual circumstances. If the consultation shows support for a standalone midwifery-led unit run entirely by midwives, it would need to be located in a place that would be chosen by enough women as a preferred place of birth and ensures fair access for all women regardless of where they live in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. It would also need to be sufficiently close to more medical and specialist services should the need arise.
It is proposed that for a trial period the centre would be located at Leicester General Hospital, where it would be much quicker to transfer a patient by ambulance to the maternity hospital in an emergency situation. For this standalone unit to be viable it must have a minimum of 500 births each year.
This proposal does not reduce choice of birth setting for the majority of women in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Instead, it increases choice by providing more expectant mothers with options of:
- A home birth
- A birth in an obstetric unit and neonatal services in the proposed new maternity hospital
- A birth at a midwifery birth centre based at Leicester Royal Infirmary, adjacent to obstetrics and neonatal services
- A standalone birth centre relocated at the Leicester General Hospital site.
To view the consultation documents please click here