MP calls for more information on plans to close Melton baby unit

Latest news about Melton maternity services EMN-200925-174114001Latest news about Melton maternity services EMN-200925-174114001
Latest news about Melton maternity services EMN-200925-174114001
Melton MP, Alicia Kearns, has contacted the health authority to request more information on why proposals were made to close the town’s baby unit and relocate the service to Leicester.

County health bosses recently announced the plan as part of a £450million reconfiguration of hospitals across Leicestershire and Rutland.

It would include the closure of St Mary’s Birth Centre and setting up a midwifery-led service at the Leicester General Hospital as part of a drive to centralise maternity services in the city.

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The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) say the Melton unit needs to have 500 births a year to remain viable - in 2018-19 there were 141 babies born there - and that it is not accessible for many women who lives across the two counties.

Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns EMN-200209-142310001Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns EMN-200209-142310001
Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns EMN-200209-142310001

A public consultation has been launched and residents have until December 21 to make their views known, after which final decisions will be made.

Mrs Kearns posted on her Facebook pages that she would be ‘working hard to ensure the voice of Melton residents is heard and that we have access to the information we need’.

She added: “In this consultation it is vital that local people are heard, and despite COVID-19, get the chance to be listened to.

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“Having discussed the issue with the CCG directly, I have written to them asking for clarity on how the decision was reached on St Mary’s Birthing Centre, future provision of services, and specifically what maternity services would continue at Melton Hospital.

St Mary's Birth Centre in Melton EMN-200925-174006001St Mary's Birth Centre in Melton EMN-200925-174006001
St Mary's Birth Centre in Melton EMN-200925-174006001

“We need a comprehensive plan to ensure sustainability of healthcare provision in Melton.

“I am seeking a further meeting with the CCG on these matters, and will be pushing for significant consultation with our communities.”

If the birth centre is closed in Melton, local mums would still have access to community maternity services in the town and the option to use a home birth team but they would face a 20-mile journey into the city if they prefer a hospital birth.

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Nearly 3,000 people have already signed two online petitions which have been launched in the last week in a bid to save the baby unit.

Go to www.change.org/p/university-hospitals-of-leicester-nhs-trust-save-st-mary-s-birthing-centre and to www.change.org/p/andrew-furlong-save-our-birthing-unit-from-closure if you want to sign either of these.

Andrew Furlong, medical director for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said the Melton birth centre will not be closed immediately if the reorganisation of services is approved because it will not be one of the first projects in the scheme, which is likely to take up to seven years to complete.

The overall Leicester hospitals revamp would provide 139 more hospital beds and move all acute care - patients receiving treatment for severe injury or illness, urgent medical conditions and those recovering from surgery - to the Leicester Royal Infirmary and to Glenfield Hospital.

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Proposals also include a new maternity hospital and the first single-site dedicated children’s hospital in the East Midlands at Leicester Royal Infirmary and the expanding of Glenfield Hospital by a third to create a planned care treatment centre for operations and emergency procedures.

A new community health campus with non-acute services would be created on the site of Leicester General Hospital, including in-patient beds for patients

recovering from a stroke, new GP direct access imaging facilities such as x-rays and scans to help diagnose conditions quicker, plus the retention of the existing diabetes centre of excellence.

To see the full consultation document and complete the questionnaire survey go online at www.betterhospitalsleicester.nhs.uk or email emailing [email protected] for further details or alternatively call 0116 295 0750 to have a hard copy sent out to you.

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