HEALTH chiefs are going on the offensive over plans to downgrade Dewsbury District Hospital’s maternity unit.
It comes after draft recommendations were published last week about the use of midwife-led care. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said this type of care should be encouraged for ‘low risk’ pregnancies.
It stated that midwife-led and even home births provide better outcomes for women and babies.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust seized on this by claiming the changes they are making put it ahead of the game.
Dewsbury faces losing its consultant-led maternity unit in controversial cuts backed by an independent review panel called in by councillors.
Campaigners believe lives could be at stake if a ‘low risk’ pregnancy was suddenly to develop complications.
Such cases would be transferred to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, which in traffic may be a 20-minute ambulance journey.
Bosses insist they have procedures in place for such emergencies which have already been tested at Pontefract Hospital.
The maternity unit there is midwife-led and bosses claim the transfer rate is below the national average.
Mum Kelly Wroe, 35, of Ossett, told of her experience of using Pontefract for the birth of her second child on May 3.
Daughter Annalise arrived at 3.49am and Kelly said: “The unit doesn’t feel overly clinical.
“There’s no beeping machines or restrictive monitors. It is a comfortable and calming environment and I felt in control.”
They were back home later that day having had support throughout the pregnancy from a community midwife team.
Kelly added: “The midwife-led unit offered exactly what I wanted. It meant I could have as natural a birth as possible, without medical intervention.”