Rethink on Honiton maternity unit

Some new mothers will now be able to stay overnight following an NHS rethink

NHS DEVON has had a rethink over plans to reduce overnight stays for new mothers in community birthing units in East and Mid Devon.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the NHS Devon board on Wednesday, October 27 and now means new mothers will be able to stay overnight at maternity units in Mid and East Devon, if a midwife agrees they need further support.

Proposals had been put forward to change the way maternity services were organised at home and in the community hospital units in Honiton, Tiverton and Okehampton, which included reducing overnight stays in hospitals.

After listening to mothers and important stakeholders during a three month engagement process, NHS Devon recommended changes to the original proposal.

After the board meeting Jayne Carroll, director of strategic commissioning for NHS Devon, said: “We are very pleased that the recommendations made to the board have been approved.

“We have been able to balance the clinical advice and national evidence with the views of local people, to provide an adapted proposal we have confidence in.

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“We’ve worked closely with GPs on our Clinical Commissioning Executive Committee, the Devon community Maternity Services Liaison Committee and the Devon County Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to come to an agreed way forward.

“From the outset we have said that we wanted to listen to parents and parents to be and take account of their suggestions and concerns. I think that today we have demonstrated we’ve done just that.”

The board agreed to amend proposals to provide a night-time service with midwife support workers.

The news has thrilled maternity campaigners after eight months of campaigning.

Ottery St Mary Town Councillor for West Hill and Honiton Maternity Matters campaigner, Claire Wright, said: “It is absolutely fantastic news that the NHS has listened to local families who have sent in so many letters and emails about the huge value of this service – widely regarded to be the gold standard.

“It is a wonderful victory for people power.”