3 July 2018

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) is today (Tuesday) starting a six-week period of engagement about a proposal to extend the temporary suspension of inpatient services – including births and postnatal care – in its rural Midwife Led Units (MLUs) at Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry.

The proposal is to extend the current temporary suspension of services until a new long-term sustainable model of care can be implemented by local Clinical Commissioning Groups. The Trust is expecting a formal consultation on these proposed changes to take place in the autumn.

Since reopening the rural MLUs at the beginning of the year there has been a number of ad hoc, two and four-week suspensions of inpatient services at these units. These suspensions have been made under the Trust’s escalation policy to ensure midwives are where mums are, to maintain women’s safety.

Sarah Jamieson, Head of Midwifery at the Trust, said: “The safety of women and babies using our maternity service continues to be our number one priority. Staffing levels are an important factor in delivering a safe, high-quality service for women and their babies and we are continuing to work to make sure we have the very best teams in the right place.

“We expect these operational pressures to continue going forward. We are therefore seeking to understand, through this engagement, how temporarily extending the suspension of services in our rural MLUs might affect women and families using our service at this time and how we might lessen any impacts to best meet their needs.”

The engagement period will run from Tuesday 3 July until midnight on Monday 13 August 2018. During this period of engagement, the Trust would like to hear from local people, and particularly women and families using its maternity service to understand how they can best meet their needs at this time.

The Trust is seeking people’s views via a questionnaire which can be accessed on the maternity services section of our website or via https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/1804SaTHMS2

SaTH will also be undertaking a programme of targeted engagement with women and families currently using its maternity services and will be liaising with representative groups such as Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Healthwatch and Powys Community Health Council.

This engagement is focused on addressing the immediate operational pressures being experienced by the Trust’s maternity service. It is not part of the work being undertaken by Shropshire, and Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups to develop a new long-term sustainable model of care which will be subject to formal public consultation in due course.

The result of this engagement period will be analysed and summarised in a report which will be presented to the Trust Board, alongside any associated recommendations, in a Board meeting on 27 September 2018 which will be held in public.

The current suspension of inpatient services at the three MLUs will continue until the outcome of the engagement period is known. The units will, however, continue to remain open between 8am and 8pm for antenatal and postnatal outpatient services. Likewise, home births will not be affected.