Claim that Melton birth centre would be sustainable with enhanced maternity services

St Mary's Birth Centre at Melton which could close as part of the health authority's planned reorganisation of maternity services EMN-161123-094025001
St Mary's Birth Centre at Melton which could close as part of the health authority's planned reorganisation of maternity services EMN-161123-094025001

Melton’s birth centre, which supports only low risk pregnant women having their babies there, would be sustainable if the health service invested in it to care for all new mums.

That was the message from Melton borough councillor Alan Pearson, who is chairman of the community and social affairs committee.

He was speaking after the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) announced plans to close the St Mary’s clinic because it was no longer sustainable.

There are 170 annual births there but the trust says there needs to be 350 to 500 to make it sustainable.

The Office for National Statistics shows that Melton families had 457 babies in 2015, 512 in 2014, 497 in 2013, 574 in 2012 and 543 in 2011.

Many of these mothers had to give birth in Leicester hospitals because they were regarded as higher risk pregnancies.

Mr Pearson said: “There are lot more babies born to Melton couples than the trust’s figures indicate.

“If they transferred those full maternity services to Melton then St Mary’s would be sustainable if it could care for all the mothers who are giving birth in the borough.”

He added: “We also need the birth centre as part of the infrastructure for when we get all these new houses put forward in the new Local Plan.”

A UHL spokesperson said: “The vast majority of women are choosing to have their babies at either the Royal Infirmary or Leicester General Hospital. The unit is under-utilised and has been for a number of years with births at the unit dropping.”