Residents will get a chance to quiz health authority officials about controversial plans to close St Mary’s Birth Centre in Melton at a special public engagement event in the town on Thursday November 1.
The threat to the Thorpe Road facility first emerged two years ago when the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said it needed to reorganise maternity services across the county to make them more economically viable.
The trust said around 140 babies a year were born at the Melton birthing centre but that a centre of its type needed 500 or more births a year to provide value for money.
Officials instead propose to create a new modernised maternity hospital at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and they are considering providing a second midwife-led unit for mums in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland but this is more likely to be at the Leicester General, which the trust considers is easier to get to for more people compared to the existing Melton centre.
If the plans are approved, it will mean Melton parents facing a journey of nearly 20 miles to have their babies.
A series of public engagement events begin next week around the county with the Melton Borough Council offices in Parkside hosting the town’s session, from 5pm to 7.45pm on Thursday.
The event will include a presentation by members of the local clinical commissioning group and NHS trust on changes to health services, including the planned reconfiguration of maternity centres, followed by a public question and answer session from 6.30pm.
The agenda also provides an opportunity to talk to NHS staff about the improvements being made to local health services, including those provided in private homes, GP practices and hospitals.
From 5pm there will also be an opportunity to drop in and view displays about local health services and chat to officials about them.
The engagement events are part of a consultation process before a decision is made on the proposals and a business case is prepared to submit to NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care.
Go online at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/better-care-together-next-steps-to-better-care-in-leicester-leicestershire-and-rutland-tickets-50967730855 to register for a place at the Melton engagement event or, alternatively, email BCTComms@westleicestershireccg.nhs.uk or call 0116 295 4104.