Maternity unit to be scrapped

Scene Setters : Grantham Hospital.
Scene Setters : Grantham Hospital.

LINCOLNSHIRE health bosses have announced plans to scrap the maternity unit at Grantham Hospital.

Over the past year there have been fewer than 100 births at Grantham’s midwifery-led birthing unit, which county health bosses say is well below the number needed to make the unit viable.

Last week NHS Lincolnshire released its Shaping Health for Mid Kesteven report in which it proposes to ‘relocate’ the Grantham unit to another hospital which is supported by an obstetric unit such as Lincoln or Boston.

Allan Kitt, of the South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, is responsible for buying health services for South Lincolnshire.

He said: “We needed there to be at least 170 births at Grantham Hospital to be financially viable but last year we had fewer than 100 births - that means the unit has fewer than two births a week.

“The midwives do a great job but women are clearly choosing to go elsewhere for their care. We are proposing to stop the option of births at Grantham Hospital.”

Currently 2,370 women a year, many from the Sleaford area, attend Grantham Hospital for their antenatal and postnatal care but the vast majority opt to give birth at other hospitals where there are more specialist facilities and services.

A spokesman for United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The maternity unit at Grantham delivers an excellent service to the women who use it and we are delighted that there will be no changes to the post natal, antenatal and home birth services.

“However, we recognise that changes need to be made to ensure the services provided from the hospital are right for the whole of the local population in the future and this includes birthing options for women. Statistics show that women are not choosing to use the midwifery-led unit and alternatives need to be discussed throughout the public consultation to provide women with the options that meet their needs.”

Consultations on the proposal will continue until February 20.

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