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Threat to Scarborough's maternity service
12:30pm Wednesday 7th August 2013 in News
THE future of Scarborough’s midwife-led maternity service is under threat after hospital bosses admitted they could not guarantee the unit’s survival.
York Teaching NHS Foundation Trust’s financial and clinical struggles mean they cannot be sure of the midwife-led service’s future, the board’s chief executive has warned.
Scarborough mothers-to-be with low-risk pregnancies can choose to deliver their baby in a special midwife-led unit (MLU) which offers low intervention births, including water births.
Trust chief executive Patrick Crowley said fears had been sparked over a plan to close the MLU to allow upgrades to the maternity operating theatres, meaning all babies would have to be delivered in the maternity unit. But even though the closure is at present temporary, the unit’s future is still uncertain.
Mr Crowley said: “As a whole organisation we are facing both clinical and financial challenges as a result of wider, well-publicised NHS issues. Like all public services we have been faced with scrutinising every single service we manage and I have spoken to staff openly about this. All services must pass the test of being both clinically and financially viable which means safe and affordable.
“As we move forward we must examine every single service, including the MLU. I cannot at this stage guarantee the future of any service or facility.”
A review earlier this year confirmed that maternity services would stay at Scarborough Hospital.
Mr Crowley said: “In Scarborough there are two places within the hospital where women can choose to give birth, the labour ward and the MLU. In York, our maternity services are delivered by a single team of consultants and midwives. This means that women in York who are deemed to be ‘low risk’ can have a midwifery-led birth, but it is not delivered in a separate unit.
“I can confirm that women will continue to be able to make choices about the type of maternity care they can receive at both Scarborough and York Hospitals.”
A petition to save the MLU has already gathered more than 800 signatures since its launched on July 25.