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Maternity unit plans unveiled; HEALTH: Trust to consult with public on three options.

Byline: Alison Dayani

FINAL options on controversial plans to merge maternity units across Birmingham and the Black Country have been drawn up for public consultation - all of which see Sandwell Hospital downgraded.

More expectant mums would be taken to City Hospital, in Winson Green, to give birth instead. Staff, families and health watchdogs will be allowed to give their views during a 12-week consultation.

Sandwell Primary Care Trust, which is overseeing the maternity services review for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs the two hospitals, has come up with three options, of which one will be carried out until the new hospital opens in Smethwick by 2015 at the earliest.

There are now 2,645 births at Sandwell Hospital every year but that will be reduced to zero for options 1 and 2 or 400 births under option 3. But City Hospital is expected to see births rise from 3,752 up to as high as 6,728.

Coun Deirdre Alden (left), chairwoman of the council's health scrutiny committee, raised concerns over changes putting extra pressure on Birmingham maternity wards.

"I am anxious that changes on both the east and west of the city will have an impact on other hospitals like the Women's," she said.

A proposed public consultation looks likely to take place from October 12 to January 18.


Option 1 - Transfer all births and consultant activity to City Hospital and retain low-risk midwifery-led antenatal services at Sandwell and City Hospitals including routine scans. There would be no births at Sandwell Hospital and all antenatal clinics with consultants would transfer to City Hospital concentrating all high-risk care to one site. All Neonatal care would be provided at City Hospital. Option 2 - All births, in-patient maternity care, neonatal care and antenatal services at City Hospital. A small number of consultant antenatal clinics would remain at Sandwell Hospital, along with a full range of midwifery antenatal services, including routine screening. There would be no births or in-patient maternity care at Sandwell Hospital.

Option 3 - All consultantled care and neonatal care plus in-patient services and births would transfer to City Hospital. A stand alone midwifery-led birth centre would be developed within Sandwell to enable midwives to carry out low-risk births along with antenatal care and routine screening in Sandwell as well as at City Hospital.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 23, 2009
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