Births to resume at Walsall unit two years after suspension
Walsall's specialist midwifery unit will reopen two years after births were suspended amid a staffing crisis.
Expectant mothers will once again be able to give birth at the midwifery-led-unit on Charles Street from autumn, health bosses have announced.
Births were suspended in 2017 due to a staffing shortage which meant there were not enough midwives for both Walsall Manor Hospital and the MLU.
That came after a birthing cap was introduced in 2016 when inspectors from the Care Quality Commission rated hospital unit “inadequate".
But the situation improved last year when that rating was upgraded to "requires improvement".
Bosses at the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Manor, said a recruitment campaign had helped to boost staffing numbers.
Nicola Wenlock, director of midwifery, gynaecology and sexual health, said: “This is fantastic news – both for the women who use our services and our committed staff who have been working towards this.
“By reopening our midwifery-led unit we are we will be providing greater options for birth as detailed in the Better Births recommendations and it’s important to us that we are able to do so while maintaining the safety of women and babies in our care.
“Research shows that women with low-risk pregnancies are more likely to have better outcomes if they receive care within an MLU.
"Evidence demonstrates that those women who choose to birth in a standalone facility will also have lower rates of intervention.”
Laura Parsons, interim matron, said hypnobirthing sessions, reflexology, relaxation classes and parent education classes would continue to be offered from the unit.
She said: “It has been running as a community hub bringing together key maternity services in one place for women and their families and to be able to offer low-risk women the opportunity to birth here again is really good news.
“It is a real home from home environment and we look forward to welcoming women here in just a few months time.”
The cap on births in Walsall meant many expectant mothers had to go to other hospitals like New Cross in Wolverhampton to give birth instead.
In April, it was announced the cap had been eased to 4,200 each year.