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Births put on hold at Chippy
10:30am Thursday 25th October 2012 in News
BIRTHS have been suspended at the Cotswold Maternity Unit in Chipping Norton after fears over ‘working practices’ were raised by women and staff.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUH), which runs the service, has announced it has taken the decision to suspend the service with immediate effect while an internal review, expected to take about three months, is carried out.
In a statement, the trust said the review was underway amid “concerns around working practices raised by staff and women using the unit”.
It said there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed, including the high number of mums being transferred to a main hospital to give birth even though they were intended to do so at the unit.
Jane Hervé, head of midwifery at the trust, said she would normally expect the transfer rate to be about 25 per cent but at present it is 45 per cent. The unit has also seen a decline in the number of women choosing to give birth there Mrs Hervé, who said she was sure the unit would reopen, has been asked to lead the review into all aspects of the unit’s working practices and will engage with staff, mothers, new parents and representatives of the Maternity Services Liaison Committee (MSLC).
Jennifer Lanham, lay chair of the MSLC, said the closure was necessary to understand where the problems lie. “The low birth rate is a key indicator that something isn't going right at the unit,” she said.
“The unit is new and attractive – it’s quite amazing that women don’t appear to want to give birth there and we need to find out why.”
The midwife-led unit will remain staffed and open during the day to provide women and their families with antenatal support, breast feeding advice and support, baby hearing tests and postnatal care.
Women will continue to have a choice of where to give birth, including the Horton Hospital, Banbury, the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, home birth and Warwick Hospital.