Mums will go to Exeter

PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 01:08 16 June 2010

I was dismayed to read the article in the Midweek Herald two weeks ago, which seemed to deliberately distract from the issue of Honiton maternity s proposed radical reduction in hours and the transfer of staff employment to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hos

I was dismayed to read the article in the Midweek Herald two weeks ago, which seemed to deliberately distract from the issue of Honiton maternity's proposed radical reduction in hours and the transfer of staff employment to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, which is already in place.

In a letter from the Chief Executive to Councillor Roger Giles, it is proposed the service will be reduced to 8am to 8pm, with same day discharge of mothers. Apparently, if you're unfortunate enough to go into labour at night, you can phone for a "robust" midwife to meet you at the unit. It is not explained where she/he will be coming from, their bed or a shift at Exeter.

I cannot imagine a woman in the throes of labour waiting outside the unit for a midwife to arrive. She will go directly to Exeter and, eventually, Honiton will close as a birthing unit altogether.

I was fortunate enough to benefit from the excellent post-natal care at Honiton and was unsurprised to learn that their breast-feeding success rate is 84 per cent, around twice that of the national average. The NHS say they want to "achieve national standards" which, of course, they will do if they down-grade Honiton in this way. Women need professional, 24-hour personal care and support in the early days after birth to properly establish breast-feeding and prevent post-natal depression and Honiton is a shining example of excellence in this and should be used as a national flagship for others to aspire to.

I urge all mums and mums-to-be not to let this issue go away.

Alison Kettlewell

By email


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