Child health report sparks fears over Solihull maternity downgrade

A DAMNING report into two Midland hospitals’ ability to provide a safe level of care for children has reignited fears over plans for maternity services in Solihull.

The report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said the safety of children treated at Heartlands and Good Hope hospitals was being put at risk.

It raised concerns over the ability of the hospitals, both run by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, to cope with any more births, with criticism over poor levels of emergency care, the inadequacy of paediatric assessment units and the over-stretched new-born intensive care service at Heartlands.

Solihull MP Lorely Burt said she has written to newly-appointed Health Secretary Andrew Lansley requesting “urgent assistance” to save maternity services at Solihull Hospital, also owned by the Trust.

This month Heart of England temporarily closed the Solihull maternity unit, proposing to downgrade the service to becoming midwife-led and capable of handling only low-risk births.

It put the changes down to safety reasons.

Local women deemed high-risk or who experience complications in labour will instead have to travel to other hospitals in the region, including Heartlands and Good Hope.

Members of the public voiced outcry at the trust’s decision, claiming it had been made without a proper consultation.

Many have called for paediatric services to instead be reinstated at the hospital in Lode Lane.

Lorely said: “This new report demonstrates how desperate the situation is. I worry that Solihull mothers are being forced to travel miles to give birth and cannot expect to receive the level of care they are entitled to – if they are not turned away due to capacity that is.

“I call on the trust to review this situation as a matter of urgency.”

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