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Women with "high risk" pregnancies in Solihull face being transferred to either Bordesley Green or Sutton Coldfield under proposals put forward by the Heart of England Foundation Trust. Barbara Panvel ponders how residents in a major West Midlands town can be denied a full range of health facilities.

There is general concern about plans to scale down maternity services in Solihull with a midwife led maternity unit catering for ‘low risk’ births. These proposals were unveiled recently by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

Around 2,700 babies are currently delivered in Solihull each year but it is reported that just a quarter of that number could be served by the unit, with many expectant mothers diverted to Sutton Coldfield’s Good Hope Hospital or Bordesley Green’s Heartlands Hospital.

A protest petition launched by Conservative councilors has annoyed Labour councilor Mick Corser, chairman of Solihull's Health Scrutiny Board, who says that the issue is too important to be used as a political football. He is setting up an inquiry.

Is that really needed?

It would be quicker, cheaper and wiser to listen to the voice of commonsense and relevant experience coming from a midwife who was also a midwife teacher for 13 years in a busy maternity unit. Her comment:

“I know from experience how quickly a potentially normal birth can turn into an abnormal one. I therefore object strongly to the making of the maternity unit at Solihull Hospital into a midwife only service.

“I also travel twice a month to Heartlands Hospital twice a month and know how long the journey can take in heavy traffic.

“I am sure, therefore, that babies will be lost, even perhaps mothers, because of this change.”

Surely this plan should be thrown out on these grounds alone.



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