Births to stop at two midwife-led units
Posted: 26 April 2012 by Rob Dabrowski
There will be no more births at two midwife-led units in East Kent from this September (2012).
The units in Canterbury and Dover will be replaced by new units based at hospitals in Ashford and Margate.
NHS Kent and Medway claims the decision has been made to offer the best quality of care for mothers and babies, and a sustainable service for the future.
Campaigners have been battling against the move and say that it will deprives mothers of choice.
David Shortt, from the campaign group Concern for Health Care in East Kent, said: ‘Home births and birthing unit births are generally considered to be the future way forward for the NHS and we seem to be deciding that we're not going to follow that trend.
He added: ‘I think it's bad for the NHS because it's more expensive for mothers to give birth in hospitals and it's also depriving them of choice.’
NHS Kent and Medway said it was spending more than £700,000 over the next year to employ the midwives and midwifery staff at the units at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.
East Kent GP Dr Sarah Montgomery, headed-up a review of the area's maternity services and said the move allows ‘flexibility of staff’.
‘We can ensure that all women, wherever they deliver, can have one-to-one care from a midwife when they're in established labour,’ she added,
Community teams will still be based at the Canterbury and Dover units, which will continue to offer services including midwife and consultant-led clinics and parent education classes.