REDDITCH MP Karen Lumley has welcomed funding from the Department of Health for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to establish a midwifery-led unit at the Worcetser Royal Hospital.
The trust, the organisation running the Royal as well as Kidderminster Hospital and Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital, was awarded the cash this week which will be used to set up a new midwife-led unit in order to give new mothers a choice of care.
The decision comes just a month after a long-awaited review of hospital services recommended consultant-led maternity services should be centralised at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, while a stand-alone midwifery centre is set up in the north of the county.
Although concerns had been raised that the plans would lead to the closure of the A&E department at the Alex Hospital, the independent review did not recommend this idea should be followed, saying instead the most serious emergency cases should be centralised in Worcester.
However, not everyone has welcomed the news.
Speaking earlier this week Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Redditch Rebecca Blake said she was shocked and that the constant inequality for Redditch at the hands of decision makers must be fought against.
She said: "Last month we learn that if Redditch mums want a consultant led birth they are expected to travel to Worcester.
"This month we learn that mums in the south of the county not only have the choice of consultant led births at their local hospital, but they will soon have an additional £500,000 midwifery-led unit at their local hospital."
Mrs Lumley said: “It is of course important that we consider all of the options open to Redditch mums-to-be. There must always be choice in health care. But there must also be confidence in those choices that are available.
"Midwifery-led units are one such option, and women that have used these have found them to be less clinical and more relaxing places to give birth.
"The Government has made improving maternity services a key objective. Since May 2010, the number of midwives has increased by more than 1,500 and a record number are now in training.
"Women will also now have a named midwife responsible for ensuring personalised care."
The MP recently asked Health Minister Dr Daniel Poulter to meet with her to discuss the future of maternity services at the Alexandra Hospital.
She added: "We will try to find a realistic way forward that is in the best interests of my constituents. This is what, as Redditch’s elected Member of Parliament, I have always sought to do.
"Claims that Redditch has already lost out are simply untrue.”