Hospital shake-up branded bad news

By Rob George Friday 31 August 2012 Updated: 07/09 12:52

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Buy photos » A major shake-up of healthcare in the county could see big changes at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. 0712032NHR.

A DROITWICH childbirth group has labelled any potential centralisation of maternity services at either the Worcestershire Royal or the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch as 'bad news' for mums-to-be.

The Worcester and Droitwich branch of the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) attacked three of the scenarios being proposed by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust as part of their Joint Service Review.

Those options could see maternity services as well as women's, children's and a full A&E service stripped out of one location and into the other as the trust battles to fill an estimated £50million black hole in its budget.

Government cutbacks saw the trust launch the review in February but the NCT say the scenarios proposed are bad news for parents in Worcestershire.

"Local parents to be have been promised more choice for years, this review highlights that there will be less choice for parents," an NCT branch spokeswoman said.

"The 2008 Government paper "Maternity Matters" said that '...by the end of 2009, all women will have choice around the type of care that they receive, together with improved access to services and continuity of midwifery care and support'.

"It is proven that a midwife led unit will mean fewer medicalised births and is far more cost effective. The NCT promotes choice, parents in Worcestershire have very little," she added.

The branch's concerns were echoed by Worcestershire mum Rebecca Pullin who gave birth to twin girls Grace and Lucy at the Worcestershire Royal last August.

Speaking to The Standard, Rebecca said the prospect of not having a maternity unit five or 10 minutes away would have left her feeling scared.

"It's so important to retain maternity services in Redditch and Worcester. We were lucky our labour was quite slow and could get to the hospital.

"I know of friends in the same NCT group who literally got to the hospital and delivered. These were Worcester people so they were only five or 10 minutes from the hospital.

"If they hadn't had a unit in Worcester, there would be have been far more deliveries by the side of the motorway.

"It's things like that which could be a real problem if maternity services are centralised and will make it far more dangerous and scary for mums-to-be," she added.

Grace and Lucy were born 35 weeks into Rebecca's pregnancy and each weighed around 4lb 10oz and both girls were taken to the transitional care unit.

"The care I got was exceptional. I am Australian and can tell you the care I got would have cost an absolute fortune back home in terms of private health-care," she added.

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