A birthing cap introduced in 2016 to reduce the number of births at Walsall Manor Hospital and ensure the safety and stability of maternity services is being partially relaxed.
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group introduced the cap after taking into account a number of factors including safe staffing levels and an increased demand for neonatal cots.
On booking with their GP, newly expectant women have been signposted to maternity care services at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust during this period. This measure has affected women registered with six GP practices.
The cap, of 4,200 births, has been monitored closely over the last two years and careful consideration has been given to the relaxation of some of these measures.
As a result, pregnant women who are low risk and under the care of a midwife will – from 1 September 2018 – be offered the choice of returning to Walsall Manor Hospital if they prefer. Analysis of the numbers currently booked with New Cross Hospital indicates this would equate to no more than 15 women a month.
Any Consultant-led women will stay under the care of New Cross Hospital if they are already booked.
From 1 October 2018 the Trust has agreed that it will start accepting new bookings from the six GP practices for both Midwife-led and Consultant-led women. Women will still have the choice of giving birth at New Cross as they are on the Walsall/Wolverhampton border and may prefer to go there.
The six GP practices are:
- Sina Health Centre
- Lockfield Surgery
- Lockstown Surgery
- New Invention Surgery
- The Croft
- The Keys
The cap is still in place and will be regularly reviewed.
Divisional Director of Midwifery, Gynaecology and Sexual Health Nicola Wenlock and Clinical Director Mr Fateh Ghazal said: “While the cap is still in place and will be regularly reviewed this relaxation of measures is aimed at us being able to offer a wider choice to pregnant women.
“In a week where the CQC has awarded our Maternity Services an improved rating, thanks largely to the impressive attitude of our hard-working and committed staff, this is another important milestone for our Trust and the women and families we support.”